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Veteran painter Pham Viet Song passes away (May 31, 2005)

Painter Pham Viet Song and his last work 'Nhat Le River'.
Vietnam’s well-known painter, lecturer Pham Viet Song passed away on May 28 in Hanoi at the age of 88. The artist was a great lecturer who had trained to many painters and who in particular, had made a large contribution to the capital’s fine arts movement during 1960s while the anti-US resistance war was still raging.

Born on January 2, 1917 in Nam Dinh province, he was a former student of the Indochina Fine Arts College, 1935 – 1939 intake. For over 20 years in charge of the capital’s fine arts movement during the anti-US resistance war, he opened various training courses for learners who were workers, soldiers, State employees and students.

With a great passion for art, old age couldn’t stop the artist from painting. He recently made a tour to central Vietnam for painting with his son, painter Pham Viet Hong Lam. “It was incredible. Before the tour, my dad’s health was bad and he had to have traditional herbal medicine. But he decided to go,” said artist Hong Lam.

He created three paintings during that tour during the very hot weather of 38-38 Celsius degrees. As a habit when he was still young, he sketched the paintings in pastel in detail for oil painting later. People was amazed at the working capacity of the old painter and his paintings, in light colours and tight lay-out.

For the past ten years, the father and son had made various field trips to Sa Pa, Mai Chau, Thanh Hoa, Dong Hoi, Hue, Da Lat, Vung Tau and many other places in the country.

An oil painting by Pham Viet Song.
Students and friends loved him for his optimism and great passion for the art. He used to joke “I will live, paint and give lectures until the age of 110. Then I will myself walk to the other world with the help of a stick.”

It’s true that he painted and gave lectures until the last days of his life. The news of his death shocked many students. He left behind a large number of oil and pastel paintings featuring the landscape and people of Vietnam, textbooks on painting and, most of all, his great passion for art.

Reprinted with permission from Nhan Dan Newspaper


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