Vietnamese (1906 - 1980)

Hanoi born artist Vũ Cao Đàm successfully integrated both Eastern and Western artistic sensibilities. Upon graduating Hanoi’s École des Beaux-Arts d’Indochine in 1931, Vũ was awarded a scholarship to study in Paris. He departedVietnam permanently, and enrolled in the Far East section of École de Louvre,Paris, to continue his studies in painting and sculpture. He was a member of the Salon des Artistes Indépendants, Artistes Français, Salon d'Automne, and of the Tuileries, and exhibited frequently.

Silk painting dominated Vũ’s artistic output up till the late 1930s, the first decade of his lifelong settlement in France. Given the extensive range of mediums he trained with in both Hanoi and Paris, which encompassed sculpture, oil painting and print-making, the rarity of his early silk pieces is especially salient. Vũ’s progressive integration of Western artistic sensibilities – prominently Impressionism andPost-Impressionism – became most apparent when he dedicated himself to oil paintings around the time of the Second World War. The artist continued living and working in Paris up till 1949, before moving to the South of France due to his deteriorating health. They settled down not far from where Marc Chagall(Russian-French, 1987-1985) was living, and inevitably, Chagall and the artists of École de Paris proved to be strong influences on Vũ’s paintings thereafter.

The most distinctive subjects in Vu Cao Dam’s paintings are ethnically Vietnamese figures, typically women dressed in traditional ao dai. They are sometimes accompanied by children, musical instruments, flowers or horses and set against an impressionistic background. By painting these subjects in Western painting techniques, Vũ stroked a balance between cultural themes from his homeland and western modernist modes. For both his French and Vietnamese audiences, Vũ’s works marked a confluence of the foreign and the familiar.
A portrait of Mai Trung Thu


1908 Born in Hanoi, Vietnam
1926-1931 Studies at the École des Beaux-Arts d’Indochine under Victor Tardieu for painting, Joseph Inguimberty for Decoration, Batteur for Architecture, Dr Phénix for anatomy, and Goloubew for medicine
1931 Receives a scholarship and migrated to Paris, France
1931-1934 Studies at the École de Louvre in the Extrême-Orient (Far East) section
1936-1937 Shares an apartment with Mai Trung Thứ in Avenue de Saxe
1938 Marries Renée Appriou, a young pianist who studied at the Scola Cantorum
1939 Dedicates his entire practice to painting, and occasionally realises sculptures in clay
1941-1942 Vũ and Renee had two children, Michael (b.1941) and Yannick (b.1942)
1949 Moves to the South of France due to his health complications
1954 Met a Nice gallery owner Paul Hervieu, and exhibited regularly with Hervieu in Nice as well as abroad, mainly in Sweden
1963 Signs a contract with Wally Findlay Gallery
1985 Resumes sculpture during a visit to his daughter Yannick in Majorca.
2000 Passes away in Paris, France

1946 Solo Exhibition, Galerie van Riek, Paris, France
1952 Solo Exhibition, Galerie Marcel Gueida, Nîmes, France
1954 Solo Exhibition, Galerie Les Amis des Arts, Aix en Provence, France
1957 Solo Exhibition, La Chaux de Fonds and Langenthal, Switzerland
1960 Solo Exhibition, Frost & Reed Gallery, London
1960s Solo Exhibition, Brussels, Belgium and numerous cities in America

1928 Group Exhibition, organised by Victor Tardieu, featuring the works of Lê Phổ, Vũ Cao Đàm and Mai Trung Thứ, Ecole des Beaux Arts d’Indochine, Hanoi, Vietnam
1931 Exposition Coloniale Internationale, Bois se Vincennes, Paris
1939 Salon des Artistes Indépendants, Paris, France
1940 Salon de la France d’Outre-mer, Paris, France
1944 La Peinture Annamité. Exposition de peintures sur soie de Mai Trung Thứ, Vũ Cao Đàm , Lê Phổ, Paris, France
1945 Group Exhibition, alongside Lê Phổ and Mai Trung Thứ, Roux-Hentschel Galerie, Paris