Nguyen Hoa Tuoi

Nguyen Hoa Tuoi is one of the first generation of Vietnamese master artists to be exposed to the European oil tradition and then interpret this discipline to a Vietnamese audience.

Nguyen was born in 1952 in Saigon and has been painting for over forty years - through the earlier colonial occupation of the French, the American intervention in Vietnam and then the cultural seismic shock which transformed Vietnam under the Communist Party.

In his youth, and like many artists of his generation, Nguyen’s work embraced European impressionism and he benefited from a seven-year apprenticeship with Korean and French artists. In the 1970’s, Nguyen’s development was interrupted by military service and an unfortunate period of personal “reeducation” that followed the fall of the South. In 1976, he was allowed to return to his art work, and opened a painting studio/school in 1976 in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) that has gone on to influence a number of the leading lights in a new generation of Vietnamese artists.

After a turbulent youth, Nguyen has recently come to embrace a more Zen appreciation of the joys and sorrows of life, and this attitude is reflected in the simple but evocative paintings of his daughter, Anh, or such modest domestic objects as a bamboo chair and a teapot. In some ways, the darkness of that era he lived is also reflected in his still life pieces where he uses his brush and paint to create striking shadow-touched canvasses brightened by areas of delicate and rich colour.. “The dark, but not empty spaces in the work mean a lot to me,” Nguyen says. “My earlier French teachers trained me in fundamental classicism, but always encouraged me to apply Western Techniques to Vietnamese themes; I want to celebrate life but I will also do not want people to forgot the duality of our existence and the shadows that can also pass over what once was a peaceful country”.

Nguyen’s work has been collected by a number of private collector’s over the years and 2004 is the first year that he has organized showings in North America.

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