Ngo Minh Cau (1927 – 2009) belonged to the generation of anticolonialism painters trained by the master To Ngoc Van, which included many well-known names such as Nguyen Trong Kiem, Ngo Manh Lan, Luu Cong Nhan, Tran Luu Hau or Mai Long.

 One of the six portions of the large-sized painting ‘School Age’ (120×486 cm)

Each of them followed their art path. As for Ngo Minh Cau, he created ageless paintings full of sincerity and conveyed to viewers feelings of love and human attachment.

Painter Ngo Minh Cau’s artistic life is a silent and passionate devotion to art. In each of his artworks, viewers can find a special affection and feel close to Vietnamese people’s life, reality, and beauty.

With the support from collectors, the family of late painter Ngo Minh Cau successfully organized his 2nd solo exhibition themed ‘Ngo Minh Cau – Unique Outlook and Style’ at the Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum until December 12. The late artist’s first exhibition was held in 1992 in Ho Chi Minh City.

 Vietnamese women are very beautiful and charming in the paintings of the famous Hanoian artist.

The exhibition features 50 works in lacquer, oil paint, and silk, among others. According to art critics, the works show his emotions flowing onto each canvas in the form of paints, not gaudy nor forced but kindness towards life.

Ngo Minh Cau’s paintings depict young women’s dreamy, noble, elegant beauty. His subjects range from country landscapes and mountain villages to young women and nude models. The painting shows the artist’s sweet and romantic attitude towards women, the eternal subject of painting.

The works displayed at this exhibition were mostly created after the artist moved to Ho Chi Minh City in 1982 and focused solely on painting, starting a period filled with remarkable achievements, especially his lacquer paintings.

The ‘Rice Back to the Village’ (1991), ‘Drying Blankets’ (1990), ‘Rice Threshing’ (1990), ‘Loom Weaving’ (1983), and ‘Highland Village’ (1995) are some examples of his beautiful lacquer paintings.

 A nude painting was drawn by Ngo Minh Cau in 1978.

His landscape paintings depict the mountainous Northwest, the Northern countryside, and even the sea. Painter Do Duc commented: “Cau’s paintings remind me of the old days of Red River Delta’s rural areas, the Northern culture, the poetic wavy roofs of pagodas and communal houses. In the past, these architectures were beautiful because they perfectly matched the rest of the village”.

The artist depicted the countryside and villages as human-centered with his shaping, themes, and drawing style. His paintings are realistic, as realism was the common path pursued by most painters at that time. The people and charms from the past still evoke a sense of nostalgia in viewers, as some said that these paintings are so realistic as if they could hold hands and talk with the characters if they stepped out of the canvas.

According to Painter Luong Xuan Doan, Chairman of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association, each of the works expressed passionate emotions when capturing beautiful Vietnamese features, Vietnamese women in the Red River Delta, and the highlands.

“It is the emotions that keep Ngo Minh Cau’s art forever youthful, bringing us closer to life, to reality, and the beauty of Vietnamese people,” he said.

 The dreamy beauty of a Hanoian girl in the painting by Ngo Minh Cau.

The lacquer painting entitled ‘Rice Threshing’ is one among the typical paintings by Cau, showing his vision of life, which always exudes optimism and joy, although the best and most poetic is his view of humans, landscapes, and life in the countryside: pure, rustic and old-fashioned.

Painter Ngo Minh Cau is a graduate of the Vietnam Fine Arts School. He joined the revolution in 1945. In 1954, he won the Third Prize at the National Fine Arts Exhibition held in Hanoi. In 1957, he painted the famous silk picture “Go Farming in the Rural Area”.

In 1959, he won the Silver Medal of the International Young Artists Exhibition in Vienna, Austria.

 The silk painting entitled “Cooperative Distributing Rice.” 
 “On Guard, Tan Phuong, Van Dinh” (1966, 35x52cm, watercolor painting).