Lê Văn Dệ

The Van De is a Vietnamese painter who left his mark on the art of his country in the 20th century. He was born in 1906 and died in 1966. Originally from the province of Bên Tre, he was part of the first class of the Hanoi School of Fine Arts.

The young artist graduated as valedictorian of the first class of the Hanoi School of Fine Arts in 1930. He specialized in silk painting and oil painting. Recognized as particularly talented by his peers and teachers, the painter obtained a scholarship to go to Paris at the time of the colonial exhibition of 1931. He then entered the studio of Jean-Pierre Laurens, a highly talented fire painter.

After the City of Light, Le Van De went to the Eternal City. The first Vietnamese artist to be received by the Pope, he was also chosen by the Vatican in 1936 to direct the creation and decoration of the Catholic section of Asian Arts at the Vatican exhibition.

He took advantage of this official mission to survey museums and perfect his culture and knowledge of the works of the ancient masters.

He requested baptism and chose the Latin name Calso-Leon Francesco. An important figure in Vietnamese artistic cultural life in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, he was commissioned by Emperor Bao Dai to redesign the flag of the Republic of Vietnam. He created the National Higher School of Fine Arts of Saigon on the model of the School of Fine Arts of Hanoi closed in 1947.

If he is particularly recognized for the grace of his Maternities, nourished by the Christian iconography present throughout the history of the arts, he is also recognized for his perfect mastery of the virtuoso technique of painting on silk, a traditional Vietnamese technique that he has been able to appropriate. His talent and reputation explain the beautiful prices that his works of art achieve at our auctions.

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