Vu Cao Dam (Vietnamese, 1908-2000)
Birth Place: Hanoi, Vietnam
Who is painter Vu Cao Dam?
Vu Cao Dam was a 20th century Vietnamese painter and sculptor whose mixture of traditional Vietnamese painting and Western painting techniques mostly centered on landscapes and figure painting. Vu Cao Dam’s work was often influenced by folklore and poems of his native country. He lived most of his life in Paris, with brief periods of time spent in England during World War II. He was friends with several notable French painters of this time including Marc Chagall and Dubuffet.
Vu Cao Dam was one of the rare Vietnamese artists accepted by the western world in the early and mid 20th century (along with Mai Trung and Le Pho). This was due to his status as an alumni of Victor Tardieu’s Ecole des Beaux Arts de L’Indochine in Hanoi. The French colonization of the area was one of the biggest reasons for Dam’s amazing mixture of styles and techniques, and also the reason that his work was so readily accepted by the Parisian art world of the 1950s and 1960s. His work features prominently in the collections of the Musee de Algiers,The Musee de la France d’Outre Mer, and the Musee d’Art of Paris.
What kind of art does Vu Cao Dam make?
Above all else, Vu Cao Dam was a landscape and portrait artist. His work often featured the women of Vietnam, often from folklore or famous Vietnamese poems. These pieces were shown on silk, but were a mix of traditional Vietnamese painting styles and French techniques. These works are otherworldly, full of beautiful splashes of color and bright swaths of light. The pastel coloring make a Vu Cao Dam painting instantly recognizable. The women and girls in his paintings are typically seated, calm, and full of delicate tones and light composition.
How did painter Vu Cao Dam get started?
Vu Cao Dam was born in 1908 in Hanoi. He was the fifth of fourteen children. The family was Catholic, which led to the young artist being able to study and travel more freely than was typical for Vietnamese children of that time. He attended the Paris Expo in 1889 where he had his first taste of French art and culture. In 1926, he was admitted to the Ecole des Beaux Arts, an art school that was led by Victor Tardieu and featured a number of accomplished artists who came to teach after winning the Indochina Prize. Dam soaked up knowledge, first in sculpture, where his numerous bronze busts won a series of awards from 1926-1930. He received a scholarship that sent him to Paris. He enrolled at the Ecole du Louvre, working hard on his impressionist and post-impressionist techniques which would factor in heavily into his future work. He moved to Southern France in the 1950s, where he produced some of his most famous work.
How much are Vu Cao Dam paintings worth?
A Vu Cao Dam painting can be worth anywhere from $5,000 for a minor piece to over $1,000,000 for a major work. The most ever paid at auction for a Vu Cao Dam painting is $1,038,580 for the piece Femmes au Bain (Women Bathing) (1944) which sold on December 3rd, 2020. The most ever paid for a Vu Cao Dam painting at a Heritage Auction is $50,000 for the painting Divinite (1971) which sold on November 19th, 2020. Vu Cao Dam is one of Vietnam’s most beloved and popular artists, his works show commensurate value when they become available at auction.
Where to buy Vu Cao Dam paintings for sale?
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How to value Vu Cao Dam paintings?
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