Culture Culture

08/03/2018 - 09:19

Nguyen Huu Hoang’s collection of paintings

Nguyen Huu Hoang is a collector of antiquities in Hue, but not everyone knows he is the owner of more than 100 paintings, including many valuable pieces of Indochinese, Gia Dinh, and Ha Noi art.

Nguyen Huu Hoang introduces his collection of paintings

Valuable paintings

In his new house on Nguyen Sinh Cung Street in Hue City, collector Nguyen Huu Hoang dedicates a large space to his collection of paintings and antiques, including many precious paintings. Here, art lovers can admire old paintings in the lines of Gia Dinh art, Indochinese art, Hanoi art and Hue art.

The collection of paintings by Nguyen Huu Hoang contains up to 130 paintings of all kinds: oil paintings, lacquer paintings, silk paintings, etc., of over 40 artists, such as Ton That Dao, Nguyen Van Binh, Pham Luc, Nguyen Tri Minh, Nguyen Van Ro, Nguyen Hua Phu, Dang Mau Tuu, Vinh Phoi, Vo Xuan Huy, etc. Most of the paintings depict landscapes, young women and still life. These are topics that their owner loves.

Hoang explained, "The paintings on these subjects always give me pleasure when I admire them. I was born and raised in the countryside, so the paintings of peaceful landscapes of the village always fascinate me. There are landscape paintings which portray my childhood, kite-flying in the late afternoon. They remind me of the beautiful memories of my childhood.”

One of the precious artworks in Nguyen Huu Hoang's painting collection is the painting of the Gate of The Mieu Temple (in the Citadel), by artist Ton That Dao, who is known by the generations of painters as one of Hue’s greatest masters. This is also one of the many paintings which convey the Hue soul of this talented artist. The painting of the poor neighborhood of the Indochinese artist Nguyen Van Binh in Nguyen Huu Hoang’s collection also brings pride to its owner.

Out of 130 paintings by over 40 artists, there are 50 paintings by Pham Luc (Hanoi Fine Arts). The collector shared, "It's not only because painter Pham Luc is my uncle who inspired in me the love for art, but also because I like the strong strokes that he used to create soft, stylized, and gentle layouts. Each painting by Pham Luc showcases his own unique techniques, vibrant colors, and innocence. The 76-year-old Pham Luc is a very special painter. He is one of artists with the most paintings. There is even a club with several hundred people collecting Pham Luc’s paintings in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and abroad."

More expensive than collecting antiques

Nguyen Huu Hoang’s collection of paintings originated from collecting antiques. Enthusiastic with art, whenever Hoang went in search for new pieces of antiques, he would be captivated by beautiful paintings. Hoang said, "I would go to different houses to buy antiques, but whenever I found a nice painting, I would buy it and take it home. When I began to realize my passion for paintings, I had had many paintings in my house already."

A painting by artist Nguyen Hua Phu

Pointing to some paintings that have just been bought, Hoang added that collecting paintings is more expensive than collecting antiques. Antiques can be resold, but it is difficult to resell paintings because there is no market for paintings in Hue yet. And yet, when collectors from other provinces and cities asked to buy his paintings, he did not sell them. Whenever he sees a picture that fits his taste, he falls in love with it and finds a way to come up with enough money to buy it. Whenever he hears of a precious painting, no matter which province it is in, he will make his way to buy it. After ten years, the collection of paintings by Nguyen Huu Hoang is not too enormous but it cannot be classified as small.

Just like antiques, if one wants to collect paintings, he/she must have passion. Paintings carry high artistic values and rich culture, and collectors are required to be really knowledgeable. In the antiques collecting world, not everyone can collect paintings. In Hue, among the hundreds of antiques collectors, only two people collect paintings.

To distinguish forgeries from real paintings, collectors have a long process of accumulating experience and have to acquire a certain degree of thickness in their collection to be able to perceive real paintings by their senses. Hoang said, "With painting lines that are familiar, I can buy paintings after seeing photographs. However, with the works of artists who are not familiar, I have to come to the place to confirm their authenticity. When I first started to collect paintings, I also bought several fake ones."

A painting by artist Ton That Dao

With collector Nguyen Huu Hoang, each artist has a different painting style, and each painting has its own beauty, showing the creator’s artistic style. So, the purchase of his paintings is quite simple. It is not important whether the artist is famous or not. What Hoang is most concerned with is that the painting matches his aesthetics. In his collection, many paintings were not created by famous painters but he was still drawn to them.

Story and photos: MINH HIEN