Nguyen Trong Niet and Bui Xuan Phai’s Last Handwriting Before His Quietus in 1988
Born in Hanoi, where he lived most of his life, Phai is one of Vietnam’s most prominent artists. He graduated from the École des Beaux-Arts de l’Indochine in 1945 and taught at the Hanoi College of Fine Arts. His works are in private and public collections around the world, and he was the recipient of several local and international awards.
Boi Tran Garden is proud to present the last handwriting and sketchbook of Bui Xuan Phai (Vietnamese, 1920-1988) before his quietus on 24 June 1988. Before entrusting to Boi Tran, the sketchbook’s former owner was Vietnamese painter Nguyen Trong Niet, one of Phai’s closest companions.
Amongst all Vietnamese artists, Bui Xuan Phai perhaps best epitomized the romantic notion of the artist as a lonely suffering soul, struggling only for his art. For a long time between the late 1950s and 1984, he was barred from exhibiting his works as he had been a supporter of the Nhan Van cultural-political movement demanding freedom of speech, creativity and human rights. However, after his death, he was awarded the Ho Chi Minh Prize in 1996, the highest national prize for visual artists in Vietnam. He was lauded for his steadfastness to art and for his moral character.
According to Phai, throughout life’s vicissitudes and the toughest miserable conditions, Artist Nguyen Trong Niet, Collector Nguyen Ba Dam, Photographer Tran Van Luu, and Writer Nguyen Tuan remained his closest companions.
“Bức ghi cuối cùng của Anh Phái trước khi đi xa. Có tự dạng của anh ghi ở mặt sau.
“The last sketch of Phai before his quietus. His handwriting is on the reverse.
“Hôm nay mình nghe nói ông Trần Văn Cẩn đang ốm nặng. Có lẽ cũng phải đi bệnh viện.
Từ hôm mình ốm, tiêu tiền rất ít, hầu như không.
Năm ngoái vào dịp này, Lê Quốc Lộc, Nguyễn Dung ra đi.”
“Today, I heard that Tran Van Can was seriously sick. Perhaps, he had to go to the hospital.
Since the day being ill, I almost didn’t spend money
On this occasion last year, Le Quoc Loc, Nguyen Dung passed away.