“I simply paint what I see, beauty comes from our country and translates to my canvas.” Through these words, Do Xuan Doan, the legend of contemporary Vietnamese Art, expresses his love for the beautiful. Beauty, to him, lies in the simple nuances of country life. The contribution of this septuagenarian legend to the world of Vietnamese art has been immense. His paintings exude a natural calm, a placid contemplation, family bliss, the daily humdrum of village life, and of course, the beauty of nature- be it the blossoming of spring flowers or a lotus in a still pond.
Born in 1937 in Hanoi, Do Xuan Doan graduated from the Fine Art University of Hanoi, Vietnam. The contemporary social scenario of Vietnam during his teens had been pretty much torn with conflicts. With the military terms ending in 1975, Vietnam experienced around 25 years of virtual isolation. But the great devotees of art like Do Xuan Doan, Truong Dinh Hao, Nguyen Van Hai and others were finally successful in reviving he old aura of this cultural hub of the Orient and restore its erstwhile glory in the eyes of the world.
Doan’s work evokes a sense of aesthetic beauty: beauty that can be appreciated in its own terms. The scene of a market place, a seashore, an autumn noon, a flower market- these are the subjects of Doan’s painting. However, an interesting point to note is the incorporation of the human element in all these art works. All his paintings carry a beautiful juxtaposition of nature and daily life. The translation of life into canvas has been so successful with this painter that it has drawn the attention of art connoisseurs across the world.
Do Xuan Doan’s artistry finds further evidence in his successful portrayals on a variety of mediums. Be it oil painting, watercolor, or lacquer on wood, Doan has done full justice to his paintings on all canvas types. Reiterating his thoughts, Do Xuan Doan says, “Painting is my greatest passion and my motto is to live by the brush and to die by the brush.” A man over 70, Do Xuan Doan, still relishes the idea to come up with newer works of art, chiefly showcased in the Vietnamese Culture Week exhibition in Belgium and France. His artworks have gained wide acclaim and are hugely responsible for taking Vietnam art out of its Oriental shell, and letting it bask in European sunlight.