Warm tones and distinctive techniques mark the abstract oil paintings by French-Vietnamese artist Robert Mihagui that was on display at an exhibition that opened on January 31 in Ho Chi Minh City.

Mihagui, 70, was interested in pictorial techniques and pigments and was greatly influenced by the works of Zaou Wou Ki, a French-Chinese painter, whom he describes as his "great master".

At 25 he had decided to concentrate his energy on a personal style that is somewhere between abstraction and post-impressionism.

In 1975 he spent six months working on the restoration of the dome of Saint Augustin's Church believing there was no better inspiration than that born from manual work in such a spiritual place.

He produces some 50 works a year and is grateful to people who appreciate his art.

He believes that "to be" is more important than "to have" and is generous with his time and talents, often donating his paintings to charities.

He is very reserved and humble and understated about himself and collectors of his work, but many French singers and actors hold significant collections of his works.

Mihagui was born in 1945 in Vinh Phu province to Vietnamese parents. In 1958 he moved to France with his father and travelled in the painting circles of Montmartre, to the detriment of his studies. But he was determined at a young age that his passion was painting and his future lay in arts.

He studied fine arts from 1961 to 1964 at Surgeres-37.

He has taken part in many group and solo exhibitions in Paris and HCM City as well as other countries, some of them for charity.

He currently lives in Vietnam to "refresh his memories of the magical and mysterious landscapes of his country of birth."

The Reflection exhibition, at 9 Phan Chu Trinh Street, District 1, will remain open until February 7.-VNA