Thanh Chuong was born in 1949 in Bac Ninh Province to a highly intellectual and artistic family. His father was the famous writer Kim Lan, one of the founders of the Vietnam Association of Writers.
Thanh Chuong was thought to be a child prodigy as he began drawing at the age of seven. From 1956 to 1960, he was associated with many art competitions for children in Vietnam and several countries. He won prizes in several contests from very young age, and the most notable was a gold medal for his painting "Doi Ga To” in London competition in 1957. In 1960 he was accepted into a small class for gifted students at the Vietnam Institute of Fine Art. His first art teachers were Vietnam’s leading figures such as Nguyen Sang, Bui Xuan Phai, and Nguyen Tu Nghiem.
Thanh Chuong’s main medium is lacquer. For years he has been researching and developing the art of lacquer to its height. This has made him a master painter of lacquer, a unique medium of fine art. He has been constantly experimenting, creating and renovating. He has his own technical secret that distinguishes himself from other Vietnamese lacquer painters.
Thanh Chuong’s subjects of inspiration have been Vietnamese rural life, family, love and self-portrait. The artist has a very individual and unique way of looking at the world, paired with an intelligent and flexible aesthetic sensibility. For Thanh Chuong, art has become his way of life, his vision, and his own personal school of thought. His paintings embody a profound folk sensibility, from the subject matter to the use of colours and lines, and the conventionalised and decorative shapes. It could be said that his paintings are Vietnamese modern folk art.
During the war, Thanh Chuong became a soldier and served in the army for 8 years. He was a bomb diffuser, at the same time taught art to his fellow soldiers. After the war, Thanh Chuong worked as lead designer for the Van Nghe Journal from its foundation until his retirement. He was a leading illustrator for books and magazines in Vietnam.
Being a freelance artist, Thanh Chuong's paintings were not displayed at State exhibitions before the Doi Moi (Reform) in Vietnam. Only in 1994, after Vietnam implemented open-door policy, his first solo exhibition was stage in Song Hong Gallery in Hanoi, and was highly regarded. Since then he has been exhibiting his artworks several times in Vietnam and overseas.
Thanh Chuong has become a phenomenon, who takes up a very bold and novel conception of art. He is seen as an initiator of the new movement called "the Vietnamese art movement" that aims to escape the heavy influence and dependence on the French painting style, and to help developing Vietnam’s modern fine art with a unique national identity. His work represents a pivotal point in Vietnamese culture and art. His influence has inspired greater diversification and enrichment of artistic knowledge among people and specialists alike.
In 2001 Thanh Chuong’s work "Love" was chosen by the United Nations as the symbol for the International Year of Volunteers, and he became the first Asian painter who had a painting printed on the UN stamps. In 2012, Thanh Chuong was named one of the "50 Pioneers of All Time" for his personal achievements, his revolutionary contributions to the development of the society and communities. He was also featured in Vietnamese media, Times, The New York Times, NHK Televisions, CNN and The Telegraph.
Throughout his career, Thanh Chuong has set several records:
one of the best-selling painters of Vietnam
the King of self-portrait
the illustrator of the largest number of literary works
the painter with greatest number of pieces
the painter who most frequently draws the attention of the media.
Exhibitions and Awards
1956: The first work ‘Doi Ga To” – gold prize at the Painting Competition of International Children, England.
1973: Third prize of Hanoi Painting Exhibition
1974: Exhibition of Illustration for Publications in Hanoi
1985: National Painting Exhibition in Hanoi
1987: Hanoi Artist Group Painting Exhibition
1988: Hanoi Artist Painting Exhibition – Hanoi Fine Art Museum
1994: Painting Exhibition in China - Asian Art Painting Exhibition in Hong Kong,
Second prize for Graphics by the Plastic Artists Association of Vietnam
Solo Painting Exhibition, Hanoi
1995: Exhibition of Vietnam Contemporary Art, Royal College of Art, London, England
Exhibition “Vietnam Open” – Copenhagen, Denmark
Exhibition of Paintings, Yokohama, Japan
1996: Painting Exhibition, Seoul, Korea
Exhibition of Hanoi paintings – Centre of Introduction and Change for Arts in Hanoi
Exhibition of Ten of Hanoi’s Artists in Hanoi
1997: Exhibition “A Moment from Hanoi” in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Exhibition “The Changing Face of Hanoi” in Hong Kong
“Vietnam selection” exhibition in Hanoi
“Contemporary Art in Hanoi” exhibitions in Hanoi & Osaka, Japan
“Aspiration” exhibition in Hanoi
“Thanh Chuong’s Paintings” exhibition in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
“Vietnamese Sensibility” exhibition in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam
“Gold Paintbrush” – Faber Foundation, Castell, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam
“Nostalgia” exhibitions in Sofitel Metropole Hotel & Red River Gallery, Hanoi
“A New Morning” exhibition in The Hanoi Fine Arts College
1998: Exhibition “With Heart & Soul & Mind” – World Art Centre, SoHo, New York
“Vision from Hanoi” exhibition in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam
“Vietnamese Sensibility” exhibition in Germany
“Vision from Vietnam” – Prudential’s Collection
“Five Contemporary Vietnamese Painters” exhibition in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam
1999: “Celebration of Life” – London, England
Exhibition of Inter-Nation in Korea
“The Colour of Vietnam” exhibitions in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam
“The 4th Vietnamese Contemporary Art Exhibition” in Osaka, Japan
The Exhibition of Vietnamese Painting – Seoul, Korea
Two Contemporary Vietnamese Painters Exhibition – Tatkamasu & Kyoto, Japan
“The Lacquer World of Thanh Chuong” exhibition in Hanoi
“Thanh Chuong’s Lacquer Painting” exhibition in Osaka, Japan
2000: Exhibition in Switzerland
2001: Painting “Love” was chosen by the United Nations to make stamp and symbol for the Year of Volunteers.
2002: Group Exhibition – Jakarta, Indonesia and Belgium
2006: Solo Exhibition – Consulate of Vietnam, San Francisco, USA; Group Exhibition – Victoriano Palazo, Rome, Italy
The biggest artwork in Thanh Chuong’s life time - an installation named “Thanh Chuong’s Vietnamese Palace” – Hanoi.
2007: “Good Morning Vietnam, Good Morning Korea” Art Exhibition – Samsung Cultural Exchange Centre, Seoul, Korea.
2010: Landscape and mind of Vietnam – Gwangju Fine Art Museum – Korea
Early summer lotus – Thanh Chuong Viet Palace – Hanoi
2012 : Vietnamese & Indian Fine Art Exhibition – Thanh Chuong’s Viet Palace – Hanoi
2014: Group Exhibition – Houston Fine Art Fair 2014 – NRG Center – US
Group Exhibition – Vietnam Cultural Center - Marseille –France
2015: Group exhibition "Treasures of Vietnam", London by Hanoi Art House UK
2015: Group exhibition "Gems of Vietnam", London by Hanoi Art House UK
2015-2019: Bi-annual show with Hanoi Art House in London.