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.

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Nguyen Thu, a watercolour

© 2002 Nguyen Thu

  • Map of Vietnam

    Map of Vietnam


More information


J. Harrison-Hall, Vietnam Behind the Lines: Imag (London, British Museum Press, 2002)


Height: 490.000 mm
Width: 330.000 mm

Museum number

Asia OA 1999.6-30.023


Gift of the British Museum Friends


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