The Divine Form

Front page of TIMEOUT Magazine
issued on December 24-30, 2001

Hanoi’s Minh Chau Art Gallery not only boasts an enviable location close to the Press Club on Ly Dao Thanh, it also houses one of Hanoi’s more impressive and valuable collections of paintings.

While most galleries in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are busy trying to track down promising young talents, Minh Chau Art Gallery prefers to focus its attention on established names from the past.

The gallery has acquired a particular reputation for amassing paintings by artists of the École des Beaux-Arts de l’Indochine (The Fine Arts College of Indochina), a school which includes some of the most respected names in Vietnamese Art: Nguyen Gia Tri, Tran Van Can, Bui Xuan Phai, Nguyen Sang, to name but a few.

It is the gallery’s aim to collect as many of these artists’ works as possible, whether major paintings, drawings or minor sketches, rattled off after inspiration from a poem.

With its growing collection of the works of these master a to artists, the gallery aims to assemble a coherent record of their oeuvres for art lovers.

Art Gallery Owner Minh Chau sharing stories about Vietnamese Art with Mr Truong Gia Binh (Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of the Vietnamese technology company FPT Corporation) and Mr Pham Tan Cong (Chairman of the Vietnam Federation of Commerce and Industry VCCI) 

The gallery is currently showing a remarkable collection of Nguyen Trung’s paintings, one of the great names of Vietnamese contemporary art.

His works typically portray idealised female figures, dressed in pale colours or ethereal whites. At the present time, Minh Chau Art Gallery is perhaps the sole collector of Nguyen Trung’s works and devotes an entire floor to his paintings.

Besides these, the gallery also houses pieces by Trinh Cong Son, Dinh Cuong, Tran Huy Hoan, Tran Luu Hau, Diep Minh Chau, Boi Tran and many other pioneer Vietnamese artists.

Gallery owner Minh Chau, who hails from a family of art enthusiasts in Hue, has recently returned to her roots by redecorating her venue in the traditional architectural styles of the city. She has been collecting paintings for more than a dozen years.