Late painter Phan Ke An exhibition features never-before-seen works hinh anh 1The lacquer painting "Nho mot chieu Tay Bac" (Remembering a Northwestern Afternoon) by late painter Phan Ke An (File photo of the Vietnam Museum of Fine Arts)
Hanoi (VNA) - A series of paintings that have never been seen before by late artist Phan Ke An (1923 - 2018) are being on display at an exhibition at the French Cultural Centre (L'Espace) on Trang Tien street of Hanoi.

The exhibition entitled “Phan Ke An – Kho tang an giau” (Phan Ke An – Hidden Treasures) is held four years after his death in 2018.

The event, which will run until April 16, aims to give the public another perspective on the career and life of the famous painter through his unpublished works.

Phan Ke An, also known under the pen name Phan Kich, is considered a multi-talented painter, one of the great progenitors of Vietnamese painting in the 20th century.

He studied at the Indochina College of Fine Arts – École des Beaux-Arts de l’Indochine (1944-1945) and was one of the founding members of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association.

These artistic legacies include three lacquer paintings, one oil painting, one silk painting and a series of unique sketches from the second half of the 20th century. All of them have been carefully preserved by the family for many years to this day.

Phan Ke An’s studies at the Repin Academy of Fine Arts of Russia are also introduced, and visitors have a chance to discuss them at a seminar held on the sidelines of the event.

Phan Ke An’s unpublished artworks are the highlight of the exhibition, according to curator of the exhibition Vu Do, who received a BFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) and is the founder of The Painter’s Studio.

“They are hidden in documents found in the artist's residence and are unfinished works, but not because of that, they will gain in their value,” he said.

Phan Mai Thanh Thuy, painter Phan Ke An’s daughter, said her father only had group exhibitions back in the days, he also never had enough paintings to have an exhibition, because just as a piece was finished and the paint had not even dried, it was already taken away.

“We have always wanted to have enough of his paintings to hold an exhibition. When he fell ill we were all busy taking care of him, now that he is gone and passed down his legacy to us, we hope to do something to pay tribute to him. And by coincidence I met Vu Do, the son of a close friend. After taking a look at the paintings, Vu Do proposed holding an exhibition and preserve the art works,” Thuy said.

Late painter Phan Ke An exhibition features never-before-seen works hinh anh 2Painter Phan Ke An and President Ho Chi Minh (R) (File Photo:
Phan Ke An is one of the leading artists of Vietnam, renowned for lacquer paintings and sketches of President Ho Chi Minh.

He created paintings in various styles and mastered many materials and mediums, particularly lacquer and oil. His works portrayed reality, focusing on Vietnam’s army leaders, resistance wars and daily activities of ethnic minorities living in the mountainous areas and lowlands in northern Vietnam.

His most famous work is “Nho mot chieu Tay Bac” (Remembering a Northwestern Afternoon), a lacquer painting made in the winter of 1950, when the artist joined the resistance war as a special envoy of the Su That (Truth) newspaper. The painting inspired poet Doan Viet Bac to write a famous poem with the same title, which was also set to music by song composer Vu Thanh.

For his contributions to Vietnamese art, the painter received many State awards, including a first-class Resistance War Medal, Arts Devotion medal and State Awards for Literature and Arts in 2001./.