Vu Cao Dam (Vietnamese, 1908-2000) Le printemps (painted in 1971)
Lot 188
Vu Cao Dam
(Vietnamese, 1908-2000)
Le printemps
Sold for £27,500 (US$ 35,417) inc. premium

Lot Details
Vu Cao Dam (Vietnamese, 1908-2000)
Le printemps
signed and dated 'Vu cao dam 1971' (lower right); signed, dated, titled and inscribed in Vietnamese (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
92.7 x 73.6cm (36 1/2 x 29in).
painted in 1971

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Windsor & Eton Fine Arts co. Ltd., Windsor, 1972, no. 751.

    The École Supérieure des Beaux Arts de l'Indochine, now the Vietnam University of Fine Arts, was established in Hanoi in 1925 under the French colonial government. Well established and respected French émigré artist, Victor Tardieu (1870-1937), was instrumental in the founding of this institution and it would be him that instilled it with a respect for the French tradition in art whilst advocating an awareness of Vietnamese culture and traditional subjects and methods. This mixing of influences would produce a unique style of modern art from the school and helped to launch the careers of Vietnam's most well renowned artists of the period.

    Vu Cao Dam would enter the school in 1926 as a sculpture student, however he was also encouraged to explore a broad range of mediums. It is under the direct influence of Tardieu that he would make his first forays into the Western art of oil painting, although, during this time, he stayed loyal to his core medium of sculpture, particularly working in bronze. These years of training in Western techniques were accompanied by lessons in silk painting and a drive to appreciate Vietnamese subjects. Vu Cao Dam took particular interest in the woman and children of his native Vietnam and this interest would be apparent in his work throughout his lifetime.

    Upon graduating in 1931 Cao Dam was granted a scholarship to continue his studies in France, an opportunity which he could not pass up. He would find himself living in Paris and he could finally see in person the artists whom he had grown to love and respect whilst studying under Tardieu. These years would push his art stylistically closer to the French tradition. In paint, he would experiment with Impressionistic use of the brush, Post-impressionist use of colour and Abstraction's move away from obvious forms, whilst continuing his main discipline of figurative sculpture.

    The great change in his work would occur during the Nazi occupation of France following the break out of the Second World War. It was this period that saw him pushed into the medium of oil painting, as any metal, including the bronze that he used, was claimed by the occupying forces and redirected into the war effort. His skills in painting would rapidly develop over this time and it is this medium that he would continue to focus on. His years of studying modern French painting and his interest in the traditional subjects of Vietnam would now become clear in his brightly coloured and vaguely abstracted depictions of Vietnamese figures.
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