Dark impressionist painters of Vietnam

Hanoi’s Macabre Impressionists: Dark Cityscape Paintings from Vietnam

The macabre, maze-like geometry of Hanoi has inspired a whole genre of contemporary Vietnamese art: dark, gritty cityscapes that blend the ancient and the industrial in an impressionist/expressionist style, often painted by palette knife. Anyone who has visited Hanoi will recognize the city’s boxy character in this haunting-yet-hopeful style of painting.

Covid-19 has propelled Vietnamese artists online. In this post, we showcase 7 of our favourite examples of Hanoi’s dark, haunting impressionist art that are available on reputable marketplaces like Saatchiart or SingularArt.

WARNING: These websites have a few “copy-artists” among the gems, so one must exercise careful due-diligence before making any purchasing decisions.

Prelude: Bảo Hà’s Abstract Urbanscapes

Pioneering palette-knife paintings of Hanoi

“Sparkling Street” and “Summer noon” by Nguyen Bao Ha

Before diving into the younger Vietnamese artists, we start with the pioneering Nguyen Bảo Hà. His work is not available online, but his labyrinthine depictions of Hanoi are important as the progenitor cityscapes which inspired others. Understanding his works sets the stage for appreciating the younger artists who do sell online.

Le Ngoc Quan

Dreamy floating cities

Born in 1977 in Hanoi, a graduate of Hanoi Fine Arts University, Quan Le’s nightmarish cities convey a dual sense of urban-isolation as well as Gillian-esque crampness. His paintings are quintessential, if slightly-flamboyant, examples of the Hanoi cityscape impressionism. “These old streets have a thousand year old city, mossy, quiet.” Follow him on facebook .

Recent Exhibitions

  • 2017 Rainbow Group Exhibition at Exhibition Center 45, Hanoi Vietnam,
  • 29th Exhibition of Heritage Domain Names, Hanoi Exhibition Center, Hang Bai, Vietnam.

Trọng Thượng Trần

Bold foliage and rusty columnar buildings

A Hanoi artist that blends hopeful, jubilant expressionist foliage over a macabre urban backdrop. The thick 3D leaves have a campy texture that is almost cartoonish, but are done with a masterful gradation of colour.

Recent Exhibitions

  • Memories domain, Hanoi, Vietnam, 2020
  • Regional Fine Arts Exhibition III Viet Bac, Dien Bien, Vietnam

Ha Nguy Dinh

A Hint of Monet’s Gare Saint-Lazare

Although not technically from Hanoi, and though he mainly focuses on portraits of Ha Giang minority groups, Ha Nguy Dinh has several pieces in the Hanoi-style of haunting, ghostly cityscapes, such as his 2017 “The Capital’s Sould Painting” . Ha Nguy Dinh was born in Bac Giang and has a B.A. from the Vietnam Fine Arts University.

Bach Nguyen

Grim and congested urban landscapes

Bach Nguyen graduated from the Vietnam University of Fine Art. His output is prodigious, with a lot of borrowing and playing with different abstract styles — the kernel of which is his autistic fascination with repetitive boxes and squares. Follow him on facebook .

Recent Exhibitions

  • “The 42th Hyeong Sang Jeon Group Exhibition- International Exchange Exhibition”, South Korea
  • “THE 14TH GIAF 2017 from LIMLIPARTMUSEUM”, South Korea
  • “Work Room Four-Art For You 8” at Work Room Four Studio, 10/67 To Ngọc Van, Hanoi

Chu Van

Bold strokes and mesmerizing dark colours

Not much is known about this lesser-known, hard-working Vietnamese artist. He produces a lot of amazing portraits and still-life oil-paintings with a distinctive style that is dark and slightly haunting. His few landscapes of Hanoi are arresting and beautiful.

Recent Exhibitions

  • 2019 “Contribution 2” Exhibition 29 Hang Bai, Hanoi.
  • 2019 Exhibition of Delivery season Van cao gallery Hai Phong.

Van Tri

Expressionist with jarring, angry scrapes by palette-knife

Her abstract depictions of Hanoi and Hoi An show the aggressive, angry slashes and scrapes of a palette-knife, wielded with mastery and guided by some dark vision — the quintessential Hanoi palette-knife painter.

Van Tri is a self-taught artist from Hanoi’s “ancient town”.

Recent Exhibitions

  • Exhibition in Ocean Villa resort in Da Nang, 2015
  • Exhibition in Fullman resort in Danang 2016

Ha Hoang

Vivid foliage and foreboding cityscape

The only painter on this list whose pieces are priced below $1000 USD. Ha Huang is building momentum and refining his craft — keep an eye on Ha Huang. The abstract painter from Hanoi graduated from the Hanoi University of Industrial Fine Arts and runs a graphic design company. See more on the artist’s homepage .

RELATED: Vietnamese landscape paintings generated by AI

text-to-image GAN generated painting in colorful impressionism-style of Vietnamese river village
Impressionist & abstract bold colorful painting of Vietnamese riverside village

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