Painting by Vietnamese king returned by descendants in France

By Vo Thanh, Hieu Nhan   December 24, 2022 | 06:52 pm PT
Painting by Vietnamese king returned by descendants in France
A painting by emperor Ham Nghi that has been returned to Vietnam. Photo by Hoang Viet Trung
A painting by King Ham Nghi (1871-1943) that he painted while he was living in exile in France has been returned to Vietnam by one of his descendants.

Hoang Viet Trung, director of the Hue Monuments Conservation Center, said Saturday that the center had received the painting a week ago. The work is now kept at the Hue Museum of Royal Antiquities.

Descendants of the king presented the painting to Dinh Toan Thang, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Vietnam in France, on behalf of the center, Trung said.

The art work, measuring 30 x 45 cm, which depicts the scenery of the European countryside, has been verified by another museum in France.

Trung said the center would showcase the painting at the Emperor Ham Nghi, Life and Art Exhibition at the museum on January 10. During the event, Amandine Dabat, a French descendant of Ham Nghi, will go to Vietnam to speak about the king's life there.

Ham Nghi was the eighth of 13 kings of the Nguyen dynasty that ruled in Hue, Annam, from 1802-1945. He was crowned in 1884 at the age of 13, but ruled for just one year before he was deposed.

In 1888, The French exiled him to Algeria, then a French colony. He died of cancer in 1943. During his time in France, the former king studied art at a workshop run by Maurius Reynard, a well-known artist. He also studied sculpture.

During his life, Ham Nghi created many paintings, one of which was auctioned for €8,800 ($9,387) in 2010.

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