Vu Hoa discovered his talent for art at a very early age. As a boy he found himself drawing pictures in the dirt with a stick. In school, after given proper drawing and painting tools, he was recognized as an exceptional artist. His fame has only grown since then and, not only is he one of Vietnam’s greatest painters, he is recognized internationally as one of the world’s most creative emerging artists.

Like many Vietnamese, his young life was filled with strife. The American government, who had once guaranteed Ho Chi Minh independence from France for Vietnam, were bombing Hanoi in a effort to get the Vietnamese to submit to their demands. Vu Hoa’s parents sent him to the country for protection. His stay there during the war added a sense of tranquility to his work and he often paints and draws traditional scenes. But his real love is abstract painting.

Abstract painting is foreign and confusing to many Vietnamese. When they look at the painting of a tree they expect to see a tree, not an arrangement of colors and lines. They are confused by the concept of a tree so they do not understand the work. Abstract art seldom shows an actual object. A pile of blue and green paint with a slice of yellow and brown might represent the ocean; or white streaks against a red background show birds at sunset. Vu Hoa’s job is to express emotions through color and movement rather than the representation of physical objects. He is dedicated to helping the Vietnamese people understand this new way of seeing, a chance for them to visualize the world through their hearts rather than just their eyes and minds.

Because of his skill as an artist, Vu Hoa has traveled, and exhibited, throughout the world. His awards are numerous including the French Gold Medal of Merit, the First Prize from the Salon de Boung La Reine, and the First prize from the Marie Valengo Exhibition of Fine Arts.

He is a graduate of the School of Fine Arts in Hanoi and he gives credit for much of his success to his instructors who not only taught him basic skills in traditional art but also encouraged him to attempt new ways of seeing. He presently divides his time between painting in Hanoi, teaching in Paris at the Paris School of Fine Arts, and exhibiting in various foreign countries.

In Hanoi, his work is represented at the New Art Gallery on Ly Quoc Su Street Street. Along with fellow artist, Mr. Duc,  also represented at the gallery, he often paints using the traditional medium of lacquer.

Lacquer was originally used for folk art and often coated tables, trays, vases, and is used for holding gold flake on pagoda shrines. For years the making of lacquer was guarded as a national secret.

Lacquer is a milky resin that comes from the sap of the laker tree, a tree found high in the mountains of Vietnam. Various natural minerals are used to change its color including eggshells, and pearl and seashell powders. Few people paint with lacquer because it is so difficult and time-consuming to use.

Lacquer is applied using several coats. Each coat takes ten hours, or more to dry because it is always dried in a damp place. The artist sands every coat before another layer is applied. Adding different colors increases the time required for the finished work.

Through his work, Vu Hoa hopes to spread the culture of Vietnam, and its artists, throughout the world. His recent exhibitions have included Paris, Germany, Switzerland, and Washington D. C. With any luck he will eventually circle the globe.


Vu Hoa's Art is featured at the New Art Gallery 1 at 21 Trang Tien Street in Ha Noi and at the New Art Gallery No 2 at 4 Ly Quoc Street in Ha Noi.

An interesting reproduction art shop is Kim Do Gallery at 48 Hang Troung Street, Hoam Kiem District, in Ha Noi. Take them a snapshot of anything and they will make an oil painting for you.


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