Japan Supports Vietnam In Restoring Silk Paintings

Japan will continue assisting Vietnam to restore late painter Nguyen Phan Chanh’s silk paintings owned by his family.

In addition they will organise exhibitions of the restored paintings and seek further financial resources to restore his works preserved at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum (VFAM).

Tsutomu Nakamura, Director of the restoration project, confirmed the intention at a working session between a delegation of Japanese specialists and VFAM. Both sides laid stress on the necessity to renew damaged paintings for preservation and exhibition as soon as possible.

Japanese specialist Kikuko Iwai affirmed her country’s pledge to help Vietnam in cadre training and transfer the latest painting restoration technology to the country.

Since 2008, the project has successfully restored three paintings Hun Thuyen (Fumigating the Boats), Don cui (Cutting wood), and Co gai cuoi bo qua song (Young girl crosses river on cow’s back), all later displayed in Tokyo, Japan.

Chanh, among the first students of the Indochina College of Fine Arts, now Hanoi University of Fine Arts, was one of the greatest Vietnamese painters of the last century, creating his own style and techniques for painting on silk.

Before he started work, Chanh washed the silk canvas in warm water. When the first layer of colours dried, he washed the painting again before adding new colours until he was satisfied with the work.

In 1928, he became the first Vietnamese painter to have a painting reproduced on a postage stamp in France. It was titled Nguoi Di Cay (Transplanters in the Field).

After winning a prize for his work in Paris in 1931, he built a career as a lecturer of fine arts.

In 1996, he was posthumously awarded the Ho Chi Minh Prize, the noblest award for literary and fine-art works in Vietnam.

Chanh left about 170 silk paintings and 52 sketches after he died. Most of them are stored in museums and private collections worldwide. His family only owns a small number.

His work has been displayed in France, Italy, the US, Japan, the former Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Poland and the former Soviet Union.


About Pham Huu Duc

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