Cong Van Trung

Meet Cong Van Trung – a name that shines bright in the world of Vietnamese fine arts. Born on September 16, 1907, in Phu Thuong, Tu Liem, Hanoi, Cong Van Trung left an indelible mark on the art scene until his passing on May 17, 2003. Let’s dive into the life and works of this talented artist.

Engraving Painting: A Unique Artistic Style

Cong Van Trung, a first-class student of the Indochina Fine Arts College, was known for his exquisite works in the realm of engraving painting. His artistic style captured the essence of Vietnam, utilizing brown colors and portraying rustic and typical images from his homeland. Noteworthy examples of his work include the Bao Minh Pagoda Tower, Tinh Tuc Mine, Visiting historical sites, Sunrise of the country, and the Red flowers of Thay Pagoda.

Saigon landscape
Saigon landscape. Painted engraving, 1992. 60x80cm

A Journey of Success

In 1925, Cong Van Trung displayed immense courage and ambition when he applied for a competition at the first Indochina College of Fine Arts in Paris instead of Hanoi. Although his application initially returned to Hanoi, fate intervened when the renowned painter Nam Son, who served as a judge, granted Trung a special opportunity to take the final exam and evaluate the remaining subjects himself. Out of over 500 candidates, Trung secured the fifth position among the ten successful candidates. In a heartfelt tribute to Nam Son, Cong Van Trung once said, “Without Master Nam Son, Cong Van Trung would not exist today.” The remaining eight candidates who passed the exam pursued painting, while two ventured into architecture. Trung’s journey had only just begun.

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A Life Devoted to Art and Education

While still a third-year student, Cong Van Trung was summoned by Uncle Co’s Far Eastern Institute to return to the Indochina School of Fine Arts for work and archaeological studies. His exceptional drawing skills earned him recognition as the best nearsighted artist at the institute. Trung’s dedication to the art community extended beyond his own artistic endeavors. He became a member of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association in 1957 and taught at prestigious institutions such as Hanoi University of Fine Arts and Hanoi University of Industrial Fine Arts. Many of his students eventually became renowned painters themselves, including Duong Ngoc Canh, Kim Bach, Le Thiep, Vu Giang Huong, and Tran Khanh Chuong.

Recognition and Legacy

Cong Van Trung’s talent and invaluable contributions to Vietnamese art earned him numerous accolades. In recognition of his dedication, he was awarded the Second Class Labor Medal by the State. Trung shared this distinction with two other second-class students from the Indochina Fine Arts College, painter Luong Xuan Nhi, and sculptor Pham Gia Giang.

Autographs of Cong Van Trung
Autographs of the artist Cong Van Trung

The Artistic Legacy Lives On

Cong Van Trung left an indelible mark on Vietnamese fine arts. His works continue to mesmerize art enthusiasts and inspire future generations of artists. To explore more about Cong Van Trung and his artistic journey, visit Caravansarai, where art and culture thrive.

Remember, the world owes a debt of gratitude to talented artists like Cong Van Trung, who through their artistic expressions, enrich our lives and keep the beauty of culture alive.

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