Artist Phan Chanh Famous Silk Painting Of Vietnam
Of the above-mentioned 50 paintings, about 20 of these are being kept by the painter’s family and about 30 are preserved at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum. These works have been known by the public and many of them are very famous. Neither Nguyen Phan Chanh’s family nor experts have much information about two thirds of his paintings still scattered somewhere.
Recently, another painting of Nguyen Phan Chanh has been found in a French art magazine. The artist’s family does not have the original painting but only a reproduction. The magazine now only has from pages 153-183 remaining so it could not be recognised what exact magazine it was and when it was published.
Also in this magazine, the Arts du Vietnam (Arts of Vietnam) column also included dome works of paintings who were students of the Indochina Fine Arts College in the same intake with artist Phan Chanh such as Le Pho, Mai Trung Thu and To Ngoc Van.
‘Learning to Draw.’
The silk painting of painter Phan Chanh ‘Bua com’ ( The Meal) or in French ‘Le Repas’ was made in 1929 with size of 87.8 x 65.5 cm. This painting has never been mentioned nor made public. The painting was in the same period with his other paintings of ‘Choi o an quan’ (Playing Square Games) (1930-1931), ‘Co gai rua rau’ (Girl Washing Vegetables) (1930), ‘Len dong’ (Go into a Trance) and ‘Co be cho chim an’ (Girl Feeding Birds) (1931) which are considered the peak of Vietnamese silk paintings.
Doctor of Chemistry Nguyet Phuong who is granddaughter of artist Phan Chanh photocopied this part of the magazine and sent to her father who is Professor of History Nguyen Phan Quang.
Apart from ‘Le Repas’ which was printed together with another painting of artist Phan Chanh named ‘Rua rau cau ao’ (Washing Vegetables by the Pond), the article mentioned about one more painting of an artist who Professor Quang had never heard of before. The painting is called ‘La petite patissiere’ (Cake Girl-Seller). The painting was sold to the director of the L’ llustration magazine of Paris, Mr Baschet, an amateur painting collector with a passion for Vietnamese art.
Also according to the magazine, ‘Girl washing vegetables’ is considered the best among six paintings on display of Nguyen Phan Chanh on Christmas 1931 on La Boetie street, Paris. Four of these paintings have been defined by their owners. The painting ‘Go into a Trance’ is now in the collection of Pierre Masse, director of an electricity company, ‘Washing Vegetables by the Pond’ in the collection of doctor Montel, ‘Girl Feeding Birds’ now in the collection of doctor Morax and ‘Playing Square Game’ belongs to Vietnamese collector Duc Minh.
‘Having a Bath in Early Morning.’
The information has once again been identified from a meeting by chance between Professor Nguyen Phan Quang and linguist and historian Mai Ba Trieu, an overseas Vietnamese returned to Vietnam from Belgium last June. This man presented Professor Quang the L’ llustration magazine special issue Christmas 1932, which introduces the four above-mentioned paintings and an article on these paintings by Jean Tardieu, a son of Victor Tardieu, the first rector of the Indochina Fine Arts College.
‘In the Reunification Park.’
Thus, one more among six works of artist Nguyen Phan Chanh ever displayed in Paris has been identified – ‘The Meal’, while the painting named ‘Cake Girl-Seller’ is still known by its title only.
Professor Quang said his family always wanted to know about other scattered paintings of artist Phan Chanh although they knew they could not buy them, or afford to buy them.
Reprinted with permission from Nhan Dan Newspaper