The British Museum's collections, £16.99
Height: 490.000 mm
Width: 330.000 mm
Gift of the
Asia OA 1999.6-30.023
Nguyen Thu, a watercolour
Vietnam, signed and dated, 16 April 1955
This informal watercolour portrait shows a middle-aged Vietnamese woman, identified by her first name Thao. She is barefoot and is dressed in traditional attire with a brown head scarf tied at the nape of her neck, a brown jacket and a grey-brown sarong-style wraparound skirt. She is seated on a broad bed and rests with both hands to one side while dangling her crossed legs. She stares away from the artist.
The painting shows a strong Western influence. The French founded the Fine Arts College in Hanoi in 1925 and a new generation of Vietnamese artists graduated with a distinctly French style to their work. The portrait is inscribed with the place name Cao Binh.
J. Harrison-Hall, Vietnam Behind the Lines: Imag (London, British Museum Press, 2002)