Nam Son – Nguyen Van Tho – one of the founders of the Indochina Fine Arts College
The painting “Rice Market on the right bank of Red River” was executed by Nam Son and displayed at the French National Museum.
The website of the French Ministry of Culture at www.culture.fr introduced the list of 10,140 painters having artworks bought by the French State for display at the French national museum system. Along with famous painters such as Leonard de Vinci, Cezanne, Degas, Gauguin, Goya, Raphael, Rembrandt, Rodin, etc, A Vietnamese painter – Nam Son with the painting “Cho Gao Ben Huu Ngan Song Hong” (Rice Market on the right bank of Red River) which was exhibited in Paris in 1930.
Who is painter Nam Son? The book ‘Art Schools of Indochina’ (Les Ecoles d’Art de L’ Indochina) published in Hanoi in 1937 of the National Library states that “Mr Nam Son is one of the two creators of the Indochina Fine Arts College.”
Artist Nam Son
Nam Son was the pen name of artist Nguyen Van Tho who was born in 1980 in Hanoi. In the early 1920s of the 20th century, Nam Son had a chance to meet Victor Tardieu (1870-1937) when the lather came to Vietnam to study Orient at art. Nam Son showed Victor Tardieu Orient art through pagodas, temples, statues of Buddha, the art of calligraphy and folk and water-color paintings while Victor Tardieu showed Nam Son the western art. From that time Nam Son wanted to develop the art in Vietnam. He wrote a draft on the Vietnam Fine Arts which was to build and develop the Fine Arts College while suggesting Victor Tardieu to ask the French government to set up the Indochina Fine Arts College. In October 1925, the college officially opened with ten students and 20 alternates from 270 candidates in the Indochina. In the meantime, Victor Tardieu sent Nam Son to France to together with him prepare facilities for the college and sent him for service training to the French National Fine Arts College and the National Decoration College. Nam Son worked as a lecturer for the Indochina Fine Arts College from its opening to 1945, closing the 20 years of operation of the college.
Apart from the painting ‘Rice Market on the right bank of the Red River’ (Chinese ink 1930 – prize of the Salon de Paris 1930), Nam Son also had many paintings winning prizes such as ‘Co Trang va Ca Vang’ (White Egret and Gold Fish) (seven colored woodcut, prize of Salon de Rome 1932) and ‘Chan Dung Me Toi’ (My Mother’s Portrait) (1930, silver of Salon de Paris 1932).
Painter Nam Son – Nguyen Van Tho, a teacher of many Vietnamese painters, with his talent, contributed to lighten the Vietnam Fine Arts. He passed away on January 26, 1973 at the age of 83 in Hanoi.
Painter Nam Son – making substantial contributions to Vietnamese Contemporary Fine Arts – MAI THUC
“In July, 2011, my memoir “Regenerate Victor Tardieu’s big fresco” was suddenly posted on the website newvietart.com in Hanoi. The photographer and engineer Nguyen An Kieu (Painter Nam Son’s third son) invited me to attend the 372nd Cavalry Memorial ceremony of Envoy Nguyen Duy Hieu.
Nguyen An Kieu was the 11th descendant of Envoy Nguyen Duy Hieu (Nguyen Duy Hieu died when being the emissary to Ming China). An Kieu always returned to Thanh Lang (Binh Xuyen District, Vinh Phuc Province) to worship and preserve the temple “Father and Child”- the Chief Minister Nguyen Duy Thi, Nguyen Duy Hieu.
It surprised me that perhaps Victor Tardieu’s spirit came back to Hanoi and missed the talented painter Nam Son – his peer and co-founder of the Indochina Fine Arts College (1925- 1945) and trained many talented Vietnamese painters.
Victor Tardieu gave me a chance to meet Nam Son’s children to understand the friendship between Nam Son – Vietnamese painter and Victor Tardieu – French painter and the interaction between Eastern art and Western art that created the history of Vietnamese Contemporary Fine Arts.
According to “The brief history of Vietnamese Contemporary Fine Arts” (The Encyclopedia of Publishing House – 2009), “Painter Nam Son made substantial contributions to Vietnamese Contemporary Fine Arts”.
I. The great friendship between Nam Son and Victor Tardieu
Victor Tardieu went to Vietnam when his talent was recognized. He won a large number of prizes for his paintings and decorative artworks in several churches and town halls in Paris.
He went to Hanoi to receive the Indochina prizes and decided not to come back France due to his love of the sun, the churches, the streets in Hanoi and his friends who were 20 years old younger than him.
It’s such a destiny that in 1923, Victor Tardieu met the young artist Nam Son in Hang Be street and highly appreciated his artistic talent as well as his elegance.
Thanks to a good command of National Language and French with the painting “Portrait of the Confucian” (1923), Nam Son captured Victor Tardieu’s attention.
The portrait of Nam Son’s teacher – Nguyen Si Thay when joining Dong Son Nghia Thuc Movement with his stern face, high forehead and bright eyes revealed a brooding melancholy in contemplation with weepers and tears when Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Movement was suppressed (1907). “Portrait of the Confucian” became the book cover of “Nho Phong”- a book of Nhat Linh.
When the enemy realized that the painting “Portrait of the Confucian” praised Bac Ha heroes and Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Movement, Nam Son hided this painting on the altar. Until 2000, it was publicized by his family.
Victor Tardieu got a surprise when he saw “Portrait of the Confucian” – an oil painting of an Annam painter but like an artwork of a European artist.
Nam Son helped Victor Tardieu discover the ancient Vietnamese fine arts in the period of Van Lang – Au Lac state with a rich diversity of Dong Son culture.
The traces of decorative graphics on Ngoc Lu drums, Hoang Ha bronze jars, prom sceces, dancers, drummers, rice pounders, trumpeters, birds, deer, fighters, warships, pugilists, etc.
The statues of couples blowing trumpets, the scene of the sacrifice to fishery and the landscape architecture of Ly-Tran-Le-Nguyen Dynasties surrounding Hanoi produced a harmony of natural lanscapes and Feng Shui Art. The frescoes of pagodas, towers and palaces on the silk and wood created the indigenous culture of Asia… Dong Ho and Hang Trong folk paintings and potraits depicted the mandarins’ characteristics of Tran Dynasty… The wooden Buddha statues flickered friendly faces of Vietnamese people.
Nam Son opened Victor Tardieu’s mind to traditional Vietnamese Fine Arts that made him love Hanoi and could not leave there.
Vietnamese Fine Arts in the late 19th century gained access to the West. Vietnamese encyclopedic dictionary wrote: “Painter Nam Son – Nguyen Van Tho (1890- 1973), one of the founders of the Indochina Fine Arts College, was born in Yen Lac District, Vinh Phuc Province. When he was young, he learnt to draw by himself and then he was taught by two old art teachers. His teacher Pham Nhu Binh discovered his talent and instructed him to improve his art competence. Pham Nhu Binh gave him “Gioi tu vien hoa truyen”, “Thap truc trai” and many Ancient Chinese Fine Arts enclopedias and named him Nam Son. In addition, this teacher stimulated Nam Son to the Western culture.
The teacher Nguyen Si Duc taught Nam Son Confucianism and Eastern Fine Arts. From 1923 to 1928, Nam Son illustrated textbooks with National Language, newspapers and Indochina magazine.
According to the researcher Huu Ngoc, the modernization of Vietnamese’s intellect lasted for many generations: Phan Chu Trinh, Huynh Thuc Khang, etc that were proficient in Chinese and National Language. The second generation is those born in the 1980s and 1990s in the 19th century. They preferred National Language to Chinese and were proficient in French (Nguyen Van Vinh, Duong Quang Ham, Nguyen Van To, Nam Son, etc). These artists were under the influence of Confucianism but they were the first ones to pave the way for Eastern-Western culture and national innovation.
After meeting Tardieu, Nam Son had a high aspiration to integrate Eastern culture and Western culture. Nam Son and Victor Tardieu are two founders of the Indochina Fine Arts College – the first Fine Arts school in the South-East Asia.
The “Outline of Fine Art” handwritten on the notebook by Nam Son in 1923 convinced Victor Tardieu to establish the Indochina Fine Arts College.
“Establishing a college to train talented artists with a view to creating an Eastern Fine Art with distinct Vietnamese features on the basis of ancestral art…”
The “Outline of Fine Art” included 7 departments: Arts, Architecture, Sculpture, Vietnamese Painting, Decoration, Carving, Painting-Silk-Paper.
The “Outline of Fine Art” (Art Newspaper March 31st, 2001) touched readers due to Nam Son’s compassion for Vietnamese people when he wrote about the Department of Architecture:
“Draw according to ancient pagodas, compare dimensions, find suitable Vietnamese indoor entrance for the customs, characteristics, Feng Shui, sanitation and necessaries of the poor and the rich. Take advantage of science to enhance the quality of domestic architecture. Focus on developing cities, villages, parks and natural landscapes. Create tiles, bricks and other materials to build a house for the sake of convenience. Design household furniture such as beds, chairs and cabinets, etc. for visual aesthetics. The materials like bamboo, wood, porcelain and ceramic were enough suitable for both the poor and the rich to enjoy a good life in the relaxed atmosphere and get closer to the nature with adequate facility like other countries in Asia and European.”
The “outline of Fine Art” expressed Nam Son’s great mind when building a unique Vietnamese Fine Art and it is still valuable to date.
The intimate friendship between Victor Tardieu and Nam Son with the attempt of Nam Son and the reputation of Tardieu helped them succeed in mobilizing the French government to establish the Indochina Fine Arts College on October 27th, 1924, officially opened in November, 1925; the principal was Victor Tardieu and Nam Son was the co-founder and taught at this college.
During the period between 1924 and 1925, Victor Tardieu and Nam Son went to Paris to recruit teachers and purchase learning tools for their school. At that time, Nam Son became an intern at Paris National Fine Arts School. In the morning, he learnt painting from the professional painter Jean Pierr Laurens in French Academy of Fine Arts. In the afternoon, he learnt decoration from the famous decorator Felix Aubert in French National School of Decorative Arts. In the evening, he learnt sculpture from Seguin and Maire. On Sunday, he read books in the liabrary in the morning; he visited Paris museums in the afternoon.
In Paris, Nam Son made friends with a Janpanese painter-Foujita and a Chinese painter – Tu Bi Hong. Afterwards, these two painters became masters in the 20th century.
Living far from his country, Nam Son always missed his hometown. Nguyen An Kieu sent us a poem of Nam Son when he did his internship in Paris.
Over the first few school open days, Victor Tardieu was suddenly sick and he could not come back Vietnam. In Octorber, 1925, Nam Son and Painter Inguimberty returned to Hanoi (Vietnam) and he had to take responsibility for all activities of the Indochina Fine Arts College.
“Indochina Fine Arts Colleges” – a book published by Indochina Governor in Hanoi in 1937 wrote: “Nam Son – a second level professor, one of two founders establishing the Indochina Fine Arts College constituted remarkable achievements in teaching painting, illustration and decoration and played an important part in the revival of traditional Annam art, meanwhile, it was also the ideology and constitution of the school.”
“Paris – Hanoi – Saigon, an adventure of Contemporary Vietnamese Fine Arts” – (a book published by the Publishing House of Paris Museums in Paris, 1988) witnessed the great friendship between Nam Son and Victor Tardieu: “They had discussions about the establishment of the Indochina Fine Arts College. The college was official founded according to a decree of Merlin Governor. In other words, it was the result of a close friendship between Victor Tardieu and Nam Son.
According to “The romantic journey from traditional Vietnamese Fine Arts to Contemporary Vietnamese Fine Arts” of Corinne de Ménonville – a French Doctor of Arts at Sorbonne University, “The history is an encounter, the events cannot be kept separate from the individuals. Victor Tardieu’s arrival in Hanoi and his encounter with Painter Nam Son are two decisive fators in a political and cultural vision of the establishment of the Indochina Fine Arts College.”
II. Nam Son – the first university professor of Contemporary Vietnamese Fine Arts
The North’s Future Times released on Wednesday, October 26th, 1927 in Paris: “Nam Son was appointed as a professor of Decoration at Indochina Fine Arts Colleges. Nam Son was inaugurated on October 1st, 1927 and under his director of Oriental Studies.”
The professor Nam Son taught students from the first class to the last one of the Indochina Fine Arts College (18 classes during the period between 1925 and 1945). His most considerable achievement was his teaching period. He trained over 120 talented painters and sculptors who made their college prestige as written in the “Outline of Fine Art” (Nam Son).
Many of his students formed a unique “Hanoi Fine Art” group including Le Pho, Mai Trung Thu, Cong Van Trung, Nguyen Phan Chanh, To Ngoc Van, Do Gia Tri, Le Thi Luu, Nguyen Do Cung, Luong Xuan Nhi, Trinh Huu Ngoc, Tran Van Can, Hoang Lap Ngon, Nguyen Sang, Diep Minh Chau, Bui Xuan Phai, Nguyen Van Ty, Nguyen Tu Nghiem, Duong Bich Lien, Hoang Tich Chu, Phan Ke An, etc.
These painters of the Indochina Fine Arts College turned the art of Vietnamese lacquer painting to the pinnacle of the contemporary art.
The data in Vietnam National Library and other libraries in France highly appreciated Painter Nam Son’s contributions. These data showed that he was very close to Victor Tardieu when training painters, sculptors and architects at university-level and artist-level at the Indochina Fine Arts College (the forerunner of Vietnam University of Fine Arts)
Victor Tardieu and Nam Son had a beautiful friendship. This friendship was the mixture of Western culture and Eastern culture, between Vietnam and France, not between a colonial country and another country under its rule. They brought Vietnam a Fine Arts College traning a large number of artists whose major was academic art combining with traditional art, the harmony of Western Aesthetics and Eastern Asthetics with a view to building Contemporary Vietnamese Fine Arts which could rival World Arts.
Nam Son started finding talents and the first class had 270 Indochina candidates. There were 10 Vietnamese candidates entering the college; of all these students, Nguyen Xuan Phuong and Le Quang Tinh transferred their major to Architecture. Painter Cong Van Trung (one of ten students) was extremely grateful to Nam Son for his enthusiasm for the competition “One teacher, one student” (with Cong Van Trung) during a week. He said that: “I could not constitute achievements without Nam Son’s help”.
In 1937, Victor Tardieu passed away in Hanoi. Sculptor Evariste Jonchére (the representative of Principal Victor Tardieu) divided the Indochina Fine Arts College into 2 seperate schools:
– The Indochina Fine Arts College (include Faculty of Architecture)
– Hanoi School of Practical Art
In late 1946, the French National Resistance Movement was mounted. Nam Son could not leave Hanoi. When Hanoi was occupied, the puppet government repeatedly asked Nam Son to reopen the school of Fine Arts and would appoint him as the principal but he refused.
Victor Tardieu died
He lost a friend having the same great idea.
Nam Son taught painting at a high school. It was difficult for him to earn a living because he had 8 children. He said to his children: “If he got this job, he could obey their commands and oppose resisters.”
Nam Son was still interested in painting when Hanoi was occupied. He draw everything he love and treasure: the laboring poor, the Confucius, the monks, the beggars, the mothers, the teachers, the residents, the landscapes, Hanoi streets with the remnants of the war in 1947.
During his entire life, Nam Son was keen on painting in traditional Vietnamese style, learning from Chinese and Japanese fine arts and interating with Western art. He elaborated his paintings with Vietnamese features until the last moment of his life. He left over 400 artworks of many genres and attended international art exhibitions since 1930. His paintings were displayed at Paris National Museum and private collections in many countries. The “Portrait of my mother” was awarded a silver medal in International Exhibition of the Fine Arts, Paris in 1932. The painting “White stork and goldfish” (seven-color woodcuts) had a merit in Rome in 1932…
Nam Son was the author of “Chinese Fine Art” – the first French book published in Vietnam (1930)
From 1957 to 1973, Nam Son was the executive member of Vietnam Fine Arts Association.
He is always a talented painter in the history of Vietnam Fine Arts in the 20th century.
However, according to Nguyen Van Chien, “The book Hanoi Fine Arts University 1925- 1990” did not mention Painter Nam Son’s role, title and position.” (Thang Long civilization – No. 8 – 2001)
So what is the reason?
Traditional Vietnamese ethic: Students have to be grateful to their teachers.
“Father’s Tet is on the First Day of New Year / Teacher’s is on the Third”
III. Nam Son – the first and only Vietnamese painter having an artwork bought by the French government and displayed at Paris National Fine Arts Museum.
“Trung Bac Tan Van” Newspaper (1930) reported with a big title “This is the first time a Vietnamese’s painting have had the honor of exhibiting at a museum in France.”
Another newspaper reported that: “Painter Nam Son’s brushstroke has provoked a public affair of the World Art in France.
Recently, the French government has purchased a painting of Nam Son – an Annam artist. Mr. Nam Son is a teacher at Hanoi Fine Arts School. Although he was young, his brushstrokes were recognized as ingenious strokes by many French professional artists.
He had a painting of the rice trade scene on the bank of Nhi Ha River exhibited in France and it attracted everyone. Therefore, the Minister of Fine Art (France) sent Nam Son a letter to buy that painting as the French government wanted to show it at the Ancient Museum in Paris.”
In the 21st century (2002), Trieu Duong wrote: “One and ten thousands” about Painter Nam Son: “He is the only Vietnamese painter having an artwork preserved by the French Republic and displayed at the Museum of Fine Arts in France.”
Throughout the history of hundreds of years of fine arts museums in France, the website of Ministry of Culture (France) including 57 pages listed the artists all over the world having artworks bought, preserved and displayed by the French Republic. The exact figure was 140 including famous painters: Nam Son, Léonard de Vinci, Raphael, Gauguin, Victor Tardieu, etc.
From 1673 to 1930, French artists organized 142 art exhibitions attracting thousands of artists all over the world.
On April 30th, 1930, Vietnam first attended the international Art exhibition in the big palace Chams- elysées in Paris with the only painting “Rice market on the right bank of Red River” of Nam Son. It was purchased by the French government and displayed at the National Museum.
The North’s Future Times (Paris) released on July 18th, 1930 wrote: “The painting was conducted according to the techniques of ancient Chinese artworks… expressed famous Annam painters who continued this tradition.”
In 1943, Painter Nam Son and his students (Painter Luong Xuan Nhi and Painter Nguyen Van Ty) brought Vietnamese artworks, sculptures, lacquer paintings and ceramics to Japan. The well-known Japanese painter Foujita reported to La Volonté Indochinoise Newspaper that: “Vietnam Fine Art is unique, unlike Chinese Fine Art, Japanese Fine Art and Western Fine Art. Vietnam Fine Art is particularly oriental.
In the 21st century, Nguyen Van Chien eloquently spoke for Contemporary Vietnamese Artists, confirmed the positon, the role and the significant contributions of Painter Nam Son.
“He was the pioneer, he built the “Outline of Vietnam Fine Art” by himself. He was the proponent and co-founder of the Indochina Fine Arts College. He was a teacher, the first university professor of Vietnam Fine Art and a talented visual artist. During the first phase, his outstanding artworks of many genres and materials brought him glory in international fine arts exhibitions. His name and artworks took up the same postion as those of other international artists in the center of International Fine Arts (Paris). He was the pioneer in lacquer paint, silk, watercolor, Chinese ink, colored powder and turned these paints to his teaching at the Indochina Fine Arts College. He, Victor Tardieu and other professors made considerable contributions to the career of educating talented visual artists, plenty of his students established reputations.
His position and role of “The Founding Fathers, Religion, and God” of the Fine Art turned the domestic fine art to academicism for the purpose of reviving the traditional essence. The government of Vietnam named a street (in Hanoi) after him. (Thang Long Civilization – No. 8 – 2001)
IV. Nam Son carried family name
On our arrival at Temple of Chief Minister Nguyen Duy Thi (1572- 1651) in Thanh Lang town, Binh Xuyen district, Vinh Phuc province, we were deeply moved by the ancient temple that has lived for more than 300 years old. The temple with fragrant incense worshiped Father and Child (Nguyen Duy Thi, Nguyen Duy Hieu) – the first mandarins under Le Trung Hung Dynasty. Both of them were Doctors of Philosophy and were admired by people.
Painter Nam Son – Nguyen Van Tho was the descendant of Nguyen Duy Thi and Nguyen Duy Hieu
Envoy Nguyen Duy Hieu (1602- 1639) was the eldest son of Ph.D Nguyen Duy Thi. They became Ph.D at the age of 27 and worked as madarins under the same dynasty.
In 19637, King Le Than Tong sent two delegations to Beijing (under Ming Dynasty – King Sung Trinh). Nguyen Duy Hien was an envoy of a delegation and Giang Van Minh was an envoy of the other one (borned in Mong Phu commune, Thuong Phuc district).
Two envoys Nguyen Huy Hieu and Giang Van Minh were both passed away at that time.
The book “Tam Khoi Luc” recorded that: “Prior to Duong Dynaty, Ming people had a clause: “Dong tru chi kim dai di luc”, reiterated Ma Vien’s oath: “Dong tru triet, Giao chi diet” (If the copper column break, Jiaozhi will perish) in 42 B.C after quelling Trung Nu Vuong Dynasty. It meant the copper column had been deserted for a long time.
Giang Van Minh answered: “Dang Giang thien co huyet do hong”, reiterated 3 battles on Bach Dang River (led by King Ngo, King Tran) that repelled Mongol invaders 3 times. In other words, “Song Dang nghin thuo mau con tuoi”
King Ming was angry and killed two Vietnamese Envoys, dipped them into mercury and sent them to the home country.
Chief Minister Nguyen Duy Thi was appointed to pick their human remains (including his son’s human remains) up on the borderland.
As a mandarin of great integrity, Nguyen Duy Thi dissuaded King Le and Lord Trinh, saved people and his life was recorded in the Historical Records of the Great Viet. Many conferences praised his Confucian virtue, (as brights as a pearl, as hard as a rock) in the troubled society.
Personally, I was moved by the fatherhood. Nguyen Duy Thi lost his beloved son at the age of 50. He cried for his son with hidden tears during the period of 30 years. The pain would cover the ancient temple forever.
In the late 19th century, nearly 300 years later, Nam Son – Nguyen Van Tho was the descendant of Nguyen Duy Thi.
Nam Son- Nguyen Van Tho brought his pious children up, provided them a model to imitate hence and help them become good and well-behaved students.
Nguyen An Kieu – the 6th son of Painter Nam Son – Nguyen Van Tho was an engineer working for the power company ASTOM (France). When he was young, his farther loved him so much and usually titled “To my younger son” on his paintings. In addition, Nam Son taught his children fine art, oil painting, watercolor, etc.
Luong Thi Thao, An Kieu’s mother, was born in Lai Xa village – professional photography village in Doai, over 10 kilometers from Hanoi. She taught her children French literature, Kanji, National Language.
The photographer Nguyen An Kieu was interested in art, fine art, literature, and MoZart, Chopin music. Despite his passion for art, he had to repress it.
He said: “As talented as my father, but…”
Working as a senior manager for the leading power company (France) in the world, An Kieu always preserved and rediscovered his father’s image. On his arrival in Beijing in 2000, he met Mrs. Tu Bi Hong. She used to invite Nam Son to visit Beijing but he could not. Although she was over 90 years old, she had long black hair; she told An Kieu about Tu Bi Hong’s affection for his father (Nam Son).
An Kieu said: “I have met many famous people including heads of several countries but this is the happiest moment. I met a madam, a female painter of the master Tu Bi Hong – my father’s close friend… It seems that I met my father.
After that, I called my brother – Prof. Ph.D Nguyen Quang Rieu (Director of French Center for scientific research in the Paris Observatory). Rieu choked:
– You are really happy! Not everyone can meet Mrs. Tu. (Health and Life Newspaper 28/6/2000)
Prof. Ph.D Nguyen Quang Rieu – An Kieu’s cousin was one of the world’s leading experts in maser in radiance (maser), and was prized for his scientific research by the French Academy of Sciences including Cygnus Constellation including his research on the Cygnus X3 explosion, 30,000 light-years from Earth. Nguyen Quang Rieu discovered organic molecules in the universe.
Being fervently patriotic, Prof. Ph.D Nguyen Quang Rieu wrote 3 popular observatory works in Vietnamese to improve intellectual standard. The universe – Great laboratory, Wandering in the Milky Way, Misty Ngan River. It took him 5 years to study the ancient Oriental Astronomy (in Chinese, French and Vietnamese).
He wrote: “The Astronomy is a science of traditional Orientalism. In ancient times, King Yao – an erudite king, often discussed with astronomers and sent them to the world with a view to changing the solar orbit and avoiding long-lasting cold winter and hot summer”(Science and Country, 1999)
Nguyen Quang Rieu and his younger brother Nguyen Qui Dao – Director of Department of Chemistry-Physics of the French Central University who made substantial contributions to science, culture, art and always oriented to Vietnam.
In the autumn of 1995, Dai Doan Ket Newspaper reported the encounter between three brothers, three scientists of international caliber. Two brothers (Prof. Ph.D Nguyen Quang Rieu and Prof. Ph.D Nguyen Qui Dao) and Prof. Dr. Nguyen Quang Quyen – Head of Anatomy, Associate Dean of the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Ho Chi Minh City. Two Prof. Nguyen Quang Rieu brother, Prof. Dr. Nguyen Quy Dao and Prof. Dr. Nguyen Quang Quyen, Head of anatomy, Associate Dean of Medicine University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Ho Chi Minh City. They are co-owners of the international Conference in Haiphong. A family with three brothers becoming famous scientists brought the good fortune to the home country.
The late professor Hoang Xuan Han wrote the foreword of “Wandering in the Milky Way”: “I admire his attempt to write these complicated problems in Vietnamese, it is so amazing”.
Nguyen An Kieu usually worked in Paris with Prof. Ph.D Nguyen Quang Rieu and his brother. At the Paris Observatory, three brothers Nguyen Quang Rieu, Quyen Qui Dao and Nguyen An Kieu jointly reviewed the manuscript of Misty Ngan River before publishing it.
In the house No. 68 – Nguyen Du (the villa on Thien Quang lake, built by Nam Son), An Kieu preserved a huge treasure of fine art and the documents of his life. He was a talented Father having the virtue of integrity, he used to be forgotten sometime like the fate of the big fresco of Victor Tardieu at the Indochina Fine Arts College, Le Thanh Tong, Hanoi.
Wandering around “36 streets”, An Kieu came across his father’s paintingwith his signature in an old bookshop. He spent thousands of US dollars to buy the painting from a foreigner.
At the age of 70, An Kieu was still worried because he had not fulfilled his father’s will. In the 1960s, Nam Son suggested creating the fine art prize for talented artists but no one noticed. Before his death, Nam Son made a will to give an annual fine art prize to talented painters having artworks imbued with Vietnamese soul. Ten years ago, An Kieu put a check for one hundred million VND aside but it was not received by any organisations until now.
Now, An Kieu’s happiness is to preserve the ancestor worship.
When we met Nguyen An Kieu in the temple of ancestor worship, Nguyen An Kieu said: “A large number of researcher, writers and journalists wrote about our ancestors and our father. Our expectation is to clarify the problems regarding the culture and history. Give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, give back to history the history. We have never intended to ask for any prizes.”
My article is based on the study of the East-West Journals written about Chief Minister Nguyen Duy Thi and Painter Nam Son, offered by Nguyen An Kieu. However, this is not the document disturbance; my main inspiration is to find the origin of geniuses throughout their lineage from Nguyen Duy Thi to Nam Son – Nguyen Van Tho.
This inspiration came when the research group Chinese –Nom led by Ph.D Dinh Cong Vi and I met Nguyen An Kieu and his children in the temple Father and Child cared by Nguyen Duy Mui since July 2nd, 2011.
Humans constantly learn how to be give birth to geniuses? People formulated many hypotheses but they were still unconvincing. The most recent studies indicated that geniuses depend on the education and the employment up to 20% – 30%, 80% are gifted.
The phenomenon of the clan Nguyen Duy Thi – Nguyen Van Tho is an evidence to conduct research on the Genetics, education, causal and spirit of Genius our past research on genetic genius, education, causation and spirit.
At the age 40, Nam Son became an outstandingly talented painter. The painting “Rice market on the right bank of Red River” executed with Chinese ink portrayed a delicate woman with a tangled skirt, a Vietnamese hat with strap, a bamboo yoke with two heavy rice baskets walking from the well.
Her hand holds the front side of the pole, the other hand holds the other side of the pole; she look at her bare feet rippling water. On the bank, the man with his bare back and pants squats and look at the immense river. What is he waiting for? Nobody knows. On the river, the thin boats converge. The waves whisper to the wild wind. The landscape of Hanoi is unique, not one step back.
Painter Nam Son saved the lost time for humans. The space was lost. Painter Nam Son endured charming scenes, between the dark and the light, between the peace and the primitive lanscape of Hanoi in the early twentieth century, in the decade prior to the brutal death during two Great world wars.
The painting “Rice market on the right bank of Red River” recorded Nam Son’s position which was equal to that of other geniuses in the world.” He inherited the talent from Rong Tien lineage and his ancestor Nguyen Duy Thi.
Sword Lake, lychee season.
July 19th, 2011.
To date, many generations of students has been successful in the art at the Hanoi Fine Arts College in Yet Kieu street, Hanoi which teacher Nam Son built the first brick, the only Vietnamese person recognized by the French as one of the two co-creators of the Indochina Fine Arts College.