Lot 09

b. Vietnam 1921 - d. 1988 


Signed 'Phai' (lower right)
Mixed media on paper
13.5cm x 9cm

Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur; acquired from artist's family.

ESTIMATE  RM 4,000 - 6,000


Illustrated here is a rich and vibrant drawing of a Vietnamese woman identified by her distinctive áo dài attire in the design of pink tunic with red floral prints worn over plain white trousers. She stands gracefully holding a bouquet of yellow flowers arranged amidst green leaves on one arm while the other hand is placed comfortably on her thigh. A unique depiction of figure, this energetically hued drawing by Vietnamese national treasure Bui Xuan Phai is another charming variation to his cityscape paintings.

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.