Vu Cao Dam « Kneeling Woman » – 1940-45

13 November 2019 Off By Jean-François Hubert

Very early on, Vu Cao Dam developed an extraordinary talent as a sculptor while at the Hanoi Fine Arts School. He was only in his fifth year in the School when Victor Tardieu selected 6 sculptures to be presented in the Paris Colonial Exhibition in 1931. Five of them were in bronze and only one was made of plaster.

The same year, he arrived in France, the artist successfully pursued his sculptured work along with his visual work.

During the Second World War, it became very difficult to obtain the raw materials to make bronze sculptures in German-occupied France. So Vu Cao Dam used clay to create unique terracotta artworks in this period, between 1940 and 1945. At the end of the war he exhibited his exquisite and powerful sculptures at L’Art Français gallery in Paris.

Our sculpture presented here is executed by hand without using a mold, a fact reminded here by the artist when in his writings he mentions “terre cuite, pièce unique” (terracotta, single piece).

The sculptor captured in a wonderful and evocative way the grace, dignity and abandonment in this beautiful Tonkinese young lady kneeling, the clear neck: the straight right arm supporting fictitiously a face simulating abandonment; the evocation of her ao dai and her soft and sensual face. This is the work of the artist at his best.

By the mastery in the modelling and the incision, this sculpture can truly be considered a masterpiece.

Jean-François Hubert