Artist spans traditional and modern worlds in paint hinh anh 1Night in Hoi An, a painting by Tran Nguyen Dan. (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – An exhibition of unique works by veteran artist Tran Nguyen Dan opened at the Vietnam Museum of Fine Art on March 22.

The artworks include more than 100 paintings and woodblocks that Dan created between 1967 and 2015. All of them are from the private collection of Nguyen Thi Thu Hoa.

“Tran Nguyen Dan is the first artist whose works I have been systematically collecting,” said Hoa. “I have works of his that date from the early part of his career to his latest ones. I think Dan is the person who connects the traditional and modern worlds.”

Dan is among the very few Vietnamese artists who have chosen to make woodblock paintings and follow his medium persistently. This kind of art form has made him popular, along with Do Duc, Mai Khanh and Tran Tuyet Mai.

The work entitled Di Cay (Paddy Transplanting) is one of his oldest works. The 15cm-by-25cm black-and-white painting depicts women who are transplanting rice seedlings against a background of a man ploughing with his buffalo.​

“I made Di Cay in my second year at the Hanoi College of Industrial Fine Arts. My teacher complimented me on the painting,” Dan said. “It encouraged me a lot.”

He made a number of other prints at that time, including the 45cm-by-80cm Con Trau La Dau Co Nghiep (The Buffaloes are the Largest Fortune). The print copy of that painting was bought by the Italian Communist Party.

The work entitled Ai Ve Thu Do (Who Returns Capital) is his latest work, made in 2015. The 120cm-by-80cm work has the Sword Lake at its centre, surrounded by other Hanoi landmarks such as the Dong Da Mound, the Flag Pole, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the One Pillar Pagoda, besides the Long Bien Bridge.

The painting was displayed last December during the National Fine Arts Exhibition 2015 in Hanoi. Da Nang Museum bought one of the six print copies.

“Dan’s artworks vary between themes of nature and people. They have impressed fine art lovers,” sculptor Phan Van Tien, Director of the Vietnam Museum of Fine Arts, said at the opening ceremony of the exhibition.

“Dan combines great skill and many unique features of the Vietnamese folk art of painting,” Tien said.

Dan has established his reputation as an artist with a unique style since 1980. He gives prominence to national characteristics from layouts to carving lines and colours.

Born in 1941 in the northern province of Bac Ninh, Dan graduated from the Hanoi College of Industrial Fine Arts in 1970, before working at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Department of Preservation and as deputy director of the Museum of Fine Arts.

His five artworks - entitled Tro Lai Tam Bac (Return to Tam Bac); Nghe Nhan Tranh Pho Hang Trong Ha Noi (Hanoi’s Hang Trong Folklore Painting Artists); Cham Hoc Cham Lam (Hard Work Hard Study); and Hoi Den Hung (Hung King Festival); besides Thang Long – Dong Dô – Hanoi - earned him the State Award for Literature and Arts in 2007.

The award is Vietnam’s second highest honour after the Ho Chi Minh Award.

The exhibition will run till March 27 at 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Hanoi.-VNA