Lot 042

b. Vietnam 1921 - d. 1988


Signed 'Phai' (lower right)
Oil on board
13cm x 19cm

Private collection, Singapore; acquired from Duc Minh Art Gallery, Vietnam

Bui Xuan Phai: Life and Work, Bui Thanh Phuang and Tran Hau Tuan, Vietnam, 1998, illustrated on page 309. 

Accompanied with certificate from gallery.

ESTIMATE  RM 6,000 - 9,000


Bui Xuan Phai is renowned for his street paintings which earned him the nickname Pho Phai or Street Phai as his works were known to capture “an atmosphere that stood in contrast to the sunnier disposition of the soldiers, farmers and workers favoured by the state” of the time.

To Tich Street is one of the thirty-six streets located in the Hanoi’s Old Quarter which has become a unique classical feature of Hanoi that inspires numerous writers, poets, and painters as well as one of the most desired tourist destinations in Hanoi today. The street specialises in wood carving connects Hang Gai Street which offers ready-made and tailored silk clothing, embroidery and silver products with Hang Quat, a street which had formerly sold silk and feather fans but is now filled with vibrantly coloured funeral and festival flags, religious objects and clothing.

Bui Xuan Phai was enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux Arts d’Indochine, Hanoi in 1941 and graduated from the resistance school when it was moved to Viet Bac in 1945. He opened a studio in his parents’ house in Hanoi in 1952 where he sketched portraits of his family, still-lifes and the streets of Hanoi instead of producing Propaganda Art, which was meant for national cause at the time. His depictions of Hanoi reflect the spirit and freedom of the people. A celebrated Vietnamese artist, Phai experimented with different materials such as canvas, paper, cardboard, wooden plates and newsprint. He also used various mediums like oil, watercolor, pastel, charcoal and crayon. Phai’s first solo exhibition was held in 1984 where 108 of his works were displayed. He was posthumously awarded the Ho Chi Minh Prize by the government of Vietnam for his contribution to national culture in 1996.

Painters in Hanoi: An Ethnography of Vietnamese Art, Nora Annesley Taylor, University of Hawaii Press, 2004.
Vietnamese Painting From Tradition to Modernity, Les Editions d’Art et d’Histoire, ARHIS, 2003.