Nguyen Van Tho, better known under his artist name Nam Son, was born in Hanoi in 1890 and studied at the high school of the protectorate, where he was introduced to Western art. Attracted to drawing, he collaborated in the illustration of many textbooks, newspapers and magazines.
His predispositions allow him to meet Victor Tardieu, winner of the Indochina prize in 1920, who becomes his mentor. At his master’s side, the Vietnamese artist practiced oil painting brilliantly and exhibited his first paintings as early as 1923.
Together, disciple and teacher founded, in 1924, the Hanoi School of Fine Arts, where Western and Asian artistic techniques, such as painting on silk or lacquer, are taught in equal measure. A real breeding ground for talent, the school later gave birth to the greatest names in Vietnamese painting, such as Le Pho, Mai Thu and Vu Cao Dam.
From 03/12 to 31/12/1936, the Société Annamite d’Encouragement à l’Art et à l’Industrie (SADEAI) opens its doors in Hanoi at the “Salon 1936”, 12 rue Borgnis-Desbordes (Bainier garage, rue Tràng Thi), with the triumph of silk painting and lacquer. An interesting testimony on the situation of the École des Beaux-Arts de l’Indochine is given to us by Pierre Gourou 1: “Victor Tardieu organized an annual Salon, which was an event in Hanoian life; he knew how to create a lively movement of interest around his students, he knew how to orient them towards the decorative arts and, consequently, to provide them with new possibilities of interest and additional resources. “(“Les Beaux-Arts en Indochine”, revue France-Illustration, No190, 1949, special issue on Indochina).See more