Nguyễn Sao

Nguyễn Sao is an artist, native of Viêt-Nam : he was born on the 1st of September 1915 in the village of Vỹ-Dạ (Huê – Central Viêt-Nam) and died in Paris on January 27th, 2006.

Nguyễn Sao, Saigon, 1960
Saigon, 1960
Nguyễn Sao, Paris, 1994
Paris, 1994





Nguyễn Sao

Even though  he had inherited Asian culture, he remained quite open-minded and his work reflects various inspirations due to artistic encounters that crossed his way in his lifetime shared between Viêt-Nam and France.

Graduate from the Applied Art School of Gia-Đinh (Trương Vẽ Gia-Đinh) in 1935, he completed hís artistic studies at the Fine-Arts and Decorative Arts Schools of Paris (1943-1949). Nguyễn Sao was one of the last Vietnamese artists trained during the colonial period, and when he returned to his homeland, one of the first who taught in the art schools of Viêt-Nam in Hanoï then in Saigon (1952-1964), bringing his experience of Western art (See Teaching career).

We would say that he had more than one string to his bow as he was alternately at ease with :

Oil, watercolour, pastel drawing and silk painting :

Named by the critics “Poète du terroir” for his landscapes and his countryside and urban life scenes, the portrait was also a favourite theme, as shown in some of his paintings (see Drawings, paintings)

Marché en plein air, couleurs sur soie 40x50, vers 1975
Market in Hanoi, colours on silk 40×50 (circa 1975)
Marché de Saigon, huile sur toile 50x60, vers 1980
Market of Saigon, oil on canvas 50×60 (circa 1980)
Pêcheurs, gouache sur papier 29x40 (Saigon, 1964)
Fishermen, gouache on paper 29×40 (1964)
Chemin de campagne à Auliac, pastel à l'huile 52x68 (Paris, 1990)
Countryside at  Auliac, pastel on paper 52×68 (circa 1990)
Laure, oil on canvas 62×75 (circa 1984)

Lacquer painting

He knew all about traditional Vietnamese lacquer (sơn ta) and the delicate techniques of sea and egg shells engraving, silver and gold sheets laying, but he was also an innovative lacquer painter, as he kept researching and using new colours with this medium, creating thus a real painting (sơn maisee Lacquer paintings).

La cueillette des lotus, laque 60x90 (Saigon, vers 1970)
Picking water lilies, lacquer painting with gold sheets 60×90 (Saigon, circa 1970)


Trained in this technique during his youth, he only showed his creations later in his art career (see Engravings).


The busts, low-reliefs, religious statuary achieved at the height of his career revealed his taste for sculpture to the public (See Sculptures).

Saigon, vers 1970
Saigon, circa 1970



(See Illustrations)

And decoration

Décor d'un jardin (vers 1970)
Decoration of a garden (circa 1970)