In a review of the 1933 Paris Salon, an art critic praised the work of two Vietnamese painters – Le Pho (1907-2001) and Le Van De (1906-1966) – suggesting that they could give the Europeans lessons intact and wisdom.” This review was just one of hundreds of traces unearthed by a research project that aimed to find information about Southeast Asian artists living in Paris between 1880 and 1960, and to generate a detailed record of their works that will serve as a basis for future research and investigation.
Often considered the “capital” of modern art, Paris was a magnet for artists from all over the world, including Southeast Asia. However, the details of what Southeast Asian artists did in Paris, and how they engaged with the art world there, are often sketchy or even unknown. This talk will present the initial results of this intensive research project, which found references to over 70 Southeast Asian artists in Paris - including those from Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, The Philippines and Vietnam. Southeast Asian artists studied at French art schools and exhibited alongside their European peers in the Paris salons, but were also exhibited under the auspices of colonial propaganda, such as Vietnamese artists at the International Colonial Exposition of 1931.
The speakers explored some of the surprising traces of Southeast Asian artists which can still be found in Paris, including artworks, and exhibition records, through sharing some case studies from the records relating to Juan Luna (1857-1899), Le Van Mien (1874 - 1943), U Ba Nyan (1897-1945), Le Van De and Georgette Chen (1906-1993).
Senior Curator, National Gallery Singapore
Horikawa Lisa is a Senior Curator at the National Gallery Singapore. Her curatorial projects at the Gallery include the inaugural display of UOB Southeast Asia Gallery, Between Dreams and Declarations: Art of Southeast Asia since the 19th Century (2015) and Reframing Modernism:
Painting from Southeast Asia, Europe and Beyond (2016). Prior to joining the Gallery, she was a member of the curatorial team of the Long March Project in Beijing and a curator of the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum.
Curator, National Gallery Singapore
Phoebe Scott has been a curator at the National Gallery Singapore since 2012. She is the curator of the current exhibition Radiant Material: A Dialogue in Vietnamese Lacquer Painting. She also co-curated the exhibitions Between Declarations and Dreams: Art of Southeast Asia since the 19th Century (2015) and Reframing Modernism: Painting from Southeast Asia, Europe and Beyond (2016). Before joining the Gallery, Phoebe conducted her PhD research on Vietnamese modern art.
14TH June 2017
Horikawa Lisa, Senior Curator,
National Gallery Singapore
Dr Phoebe Scott, Curator,
National Gallery Singapore