Mai Gallery was the first private art gallery to burst onto Hanoi streets, late in 1993. The owner, Mai, is daughter of poet Duong Tuong, himself a revered pillar of Hanoi’s independent intellectual tradition. As such, Mai was imbued from an early age with the great currents of artistic thought that both Government and society have encouraged as expression of this great country’s long and passionate search for modern independence.

         Early and hallowed artistic talents such as Nguyen Tu Nghiem, Bui Xuan Phai, Nguyen Sang..., first opened Vietnamese, and later international eyes to recurrent themes of Vietnamese civilization; and presented these in unforgettable figurative and symbolic terms that were accessible to ordinary people. In doing so they laid the foundations for what has become one of Asia’s most vibrant and followed art environments. Belying a more commercial tendency elsewhere, they firmly entrenched the figurative arts as the bedrock of artistic expression in a society of rapid change and constant debate.

         The late 1980’s marked Vietnam’s Renovation, and with it came an irresistible flowering of artistic energy and talent. At a time when even basic materials were in sparse supply, Hanoi supported a wealth of different expressive art forms, and drew deeply on surrealist, abstract, industrial, naive, and figurative traditions. Artists such as Nguyen Quan, Dang Xuan Hoa, Ha Tri Hieu, Hong Viet Dung, broke out from more formalistic representation, and quickly established their names outside the country.

         It was no surprise, therefore, that Mai Gallery should then burst forth. Rooted in proud intellectual tradition, surrounded by swirling contemporary currents of colour and debate, Mai was a natural complement to the scene. By providing a centre where language and visitors were international, Hanoi’s established artists beat a natural path. And it was here, at Mai Gallery, that some of the world’s first collections of Vietnamese art were first envisaged, and then assembled; a distinction that remains a source of pride today.

         Followers of Vietnamese art are no longer rare, and indeed generations of artists have graduated since those early days; but Mai Gallery has lost none of its enthusiasm, perserverance, and courage. Today’s collectors need more than introductions; they need advice, knowledge and forewarning. The great profusion of contemporary art presents bewildering choice, and challenges of style. Artists and sculptors themselves need partnership, to avoid the pitfalls of short-term advantage, and to build a network of long-term followers. Mai Gallery sits comfortable and proud atop this flowering enigma – an enigma, in no small part, of its own creation.


Add: 113 Hang Bong street, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: ( +84.4 ) 39 380 568
Mobile: ( +84 ) 909 180 870