Collector and literary critic Thuy Khue (R) has donated paintings by female artist Le Thi Luu to the HCM City Fine Arts Museum. (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) - The HCM City Fine Arts Museum is hosting a permanent exhibition showcasing work by female painter Le Thi Luu, the first Vietnamese woman to graduate from Indochina Fine Arts College (now the Hanoi Fine Arts University).

The “Le Thi Luu - An Tuong Hoang Hon” (Le Thi Luu – Twilight Impression) exhibition features 27 of Luu’s silk paintings, two photographs of her works, two sketches and a painting by her husband, painter Ngo The Tan.

All paintings were given to the museum by Tan, Luu’s nephew Le Tat Luyen and his wife Thuy Khue in Paris this year.

“Luu’s paintings have returned to their rightful place after a half century of being kept abroad. So Vietnamese and foreigners have a chance to see them,” said collector Khue.

Nguyen Kim Phien, the museum’s deputy director, said the paintings were created from 1940 to 1988 when she lived and worked in France.

"These paintings not only carry significant meaning in culture, history and society, but also reflect the development of Vietnamese modern art at the beginning of the 20th century," Phien said.

Despite living in France, Luu retained a deep love for her country. Her themes always focused on the country’s landscape and people and children, especially girls and young women.

The highlights of her collection at the exhibition include Me Diu Con (Mother Carrying Baby on Her Back), Ba Me Con Qua Phu (A Widow and Her Children), and Son Nu (Mountain Girl).

In addition, Luu’s paintings also feature landscapes and people of places where she had travelled, like the Portrait of a Guinée Man and Landscape of Puy de Dôme, Auvergne Region.

Khue, a literary critic, said that Luu’s paintings reflected two opposites, femininity and romance, and fierceness and sharpness.

Khue wrote in her book Le Thi Luu - An Tuong Hoang Hon that Le Thi Luu’s silk paintings are “different from those of other artists. Her paintings are more colorful, like oil paintings, but the colors are not shining, so some people mistake them for pastels.”

“In her early period, Le Thi Luu’s style and topics were similar to old paintings, but afterward they were similar to Modigliani. For a while, it was influenced by Impressionists such as Renoir, Bonnard and others,” Khue wrote in her book, published by the HCM City General Publishing House.

The book is about Luu’s career and life, and Vietnamese arts in the 20th century. It also showcases her paintings.

Luu was born in 1911 in the northern province of Bac Ninh and was educated in Hanoi.

She began studying at the Indochina Fine Art College in 1927 and graduated in 1932.
She taught drawing in Hanoi from 1933 to 1934 and from 1938 to 1939, and in Sai Gon (now HCM City) from 1935 to 1937.

In 1940, she moved to France where she had several exhibitions from 1954 to 1971.

She worked as a professor at many arts schools, including the Lycee Corot in 1962 and Lycee Rodin and Lycee d’Orsay in 1963.

Luu died in 1988 in France at the age of 77.

Visitors can see Luu’s paintings at 97A Pho Duc Chinh Street at the HCM City Fine Arts Museum in District 1.-VNS/VNA