Mai Van Hien, Sketcher of the First Banknote for Vietnam and His Letter to Boi Tran and Boi Tran Art Gallery in 1998

Mai Van Hien (Vietnam, 1923-2006)

Mai Van Hien (Vietnam, 1923-2006), a painter, born in My Tho, Tien Giang, a graduated student of Class XVII (1943-1945) at the École des Beaux-Arts, the sketcher of the first banknote for the government of Vietnam.

Boi Tran Garden is honoured to present Mai Van Hien’s handwritten letter to Boi Tran and Boi Tran Garden on the special occasion of the grand opening at Saigon Morin Hotel in 1998.

General Vo Nguyen Giap (Vietnam, 1911-2013) and the Vietnamese Fine Arts Delegation on a business trip in the Soviet Union around 1958-1959; standing from left to right: Mai Van Hien, X, X, To Huu, Phan Ke An, Diep Minh Chau and seated from left to right: Tran Van Can, Vo Nguyen Giap, Luong Xuan Nhi.
Tran Van Can, Tham Duc Tu, Mai Van Hien, Le Cong Thanh, and Pham Van Don at a children’s painting and sculpture exhibition, around 1970-1980
Painters, former students of the Fine Arts College of Indochina: Phan Ke An, Nguyen Trong Hop, Nguyen Thi Kim, Pham Van Don, Nguyen Van Binh, Ta Thuc Binh, Huynh Van Thuan, Le Thanh Duc, Luong Xuan Nhi, Nguyen Quang Phong, Mai Van Hien (from left to right) at the Hanoi Fine Arts College in 1993
Mai Van Hien’s Handwriting to Boi Tran in 1998

Hanoi, 3 April 1998

Dear Boi Tran Art Gallery,

After a while away from Hanoi, I received a letter of invitation to the grand opening of the art gallery when returning home. Heartfelt appreciation. I am sorry not to be able to attend this special occasion. Here’s wishing you success and prosperity in your art business and future endeavours, and I hope the gallery will cooperate and work side by side with a humbled semi skilled and below average painter who, 60 years ago (not so many), was trained and educated in a city of exquisite sceneries and graceful people, Hue.

The logo
Simple yet elegant

Mai Van Hien

Hà Nội, ngày 3 tháng 4 năm 1998

Thân gửi Art gallery Bội Trân,

Sau một thời gian vắng Hà Nội, khi trở về tội nhận được giấy mời dự khai trương Art gallery. Xin chân thành cảm ơn. Rất tiếc là không vào dự ngày vui được. Xin chúc Art gallery thành công trong hoạt động nghệ thuật của mình và mong có sự liên hệ mật thiết giữa Art gallery với một hoạ sĩ thuộc loại dưới thường thường bậc trung mà cách đây đúng 60 năm (không bao nhiêu) được học ở nơi có con người và phong cảnh rất đẹp là Huế.

Cái biểu tượng (logo)
Giản dị và đẹp

Chào thân ái
Mai Văn Hiến

Mai Van Hien, Unknown, Bui Xuan Phai


Mai Van Hien (Vietnam, 1923-2006), born in My Tho, Tien Giang, a graduated student of Class XVII (1943-1945) at the École des Beaux-Arts. He was admitted to the school in Hanoi in 1943, together with Mai Van Nam, Nguyen Tho, Le Thanh Duc, Than Trong Su, Pham Tang,… and later, in August 1945, took part in the revolution during the resistance war against the French before the August Revolution. Additionally, along with Mai Van Nam, Ta Thuc Binh, Vinh Son, Le Pho, Kim Dong, Phan Nhat, Nguyen Tu Nghiem, Ton Duc Luong, Nguyen Van Thien and Phan Ke An, he joined the Viet Minh as part of the Central Cultural Association. They were tasked with drawing anti-colonial caricatures on the walls of French-occupied territory like Bac Ninh. A seemingly passive form of attack, they had such an effect on the French army that the walls were destroyed.

The first banknote of the government of Vietnam, 1945.

During the time, to serve the agitprop campaigns, Mai Van Hien depicted plenty of propaganda artworks. During the period between November 1945 and March 1946, in company with Nguyen Do Cung, Nguyen Sang and Nguyen Van Khanh, Mai Van Hien was assigned to sketch the first banknote for the government of Vietnam by Finance Minister Pham Van Dong (later Prime Minister during 1955-1976).

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