Hanoi is known for its gentle, lyrical, artistic beauty to such an extent that Bui Xuan Phai and his famous old street paintings were born in from this. Following his steps, so many painters have indulged themselves in depicting Hanoi, serving it as their main artistic inspiration.
The people of Hanoi were already aware if Bui Xuan Phai's grey, gloomy and nostalgic old streets, of Thanh Son and Pham Luan's sunny and realistic ones of Dao Hai Phong's deserted and mystical nocturnal streets or of Quach Dong Phuong's busy and animated quarters. And now they can view Le Quan's new" Hanoi" in which nature is brimful and boistering with life throughout the four seasons.
In Le Quan's view, Hanoi has got a flickering beauty with its verdure, flowers and sunlight. The city cannot do without the crimson red of banyan and flamboyant flowers the soft violet of lagerstroemia blossoms, the silvery white flowers of milk trees and a nature with its four ever-changing scenery seasons.
Hanoi is all the more poetic with graceful loads of flowers lyrical of rustic character more lyrical with rustling autumnal leaves and yet closer to reality with the plain, familiar joy at market places where buyers and sellers are busy purchasing and trading goods. Le Quan's "Hanoi" is a corner of serene, pure and limpid space with some relaxing effect, capable of making us temporarily forget the labor and hardships of the human condition.
It is said that Le Quan is under some remote influence of French Impressionism: this is not very strange for, generally speaking the above French school did exert an early influence over Vietnamese modern painting. Besides, all influences and aesthetic encounters are quite natural and indispensable for an artist in his way searching for his originality. But perhaps more interesting is the fact that impressionistic art does not have predestined relationships with Paris alone but ever with Hanoi is well. The above artistic school was borne by the capital of France more than a century ago but it is Hanoi that has so far revived it.
Painting is man's personal aesthetic life. It may be either tough and simple or mixed up and complicated and ever stern and extremist. But even though it is merely plain and commonplace, it will provide us with an immense solace and comport. I would like to share those sincere artistic aspirations with Le Quan. I firmly believe that he will not stop here, being fully complacent with what he has achieved, but will go farther, indulging himself on the way of art, because higher artistic summits are still awaiting him in new horizons.
Le Quan employs vigorous brushwork and an Impressionist style to depict the play of sunlight and shadow on the charming old streets of Hanoi with their bright trees and lively flower markets. In his latest work, lakeside and countryside scenes also show different facets of the city. Born in Hanoi in 1953, Le Quan graduated from the Hanoi Fine Arts College in 1973 and from the Hanoi Fine Arts University in 1982.