Nguyen Khang, along with Nguyen Gia Tri, Tran Van Can and Tran Quang, are considered the pioneers of the modern Vietnamese lacquer art. Khang graduated from the prestigious École des Beaux Arts de l'Indochine, led by Joseph Inguimberty, who was an influential figure in the revival of the ancestral lacquer technique, which resulted in the Golden Age of Vietnamese painting and lacquer art.
Fishing Under the Moonlight showcases Khang's impeccable skills not only as a master, but an innovator in the field, able to incorporate western composition styles into the traditional discipline. Khang was an admirer of the French Art Deco movement and the works of Jean Dunand in particular. In Fishing Under the Moonlight, the utilization of the background space in black with the movement of the water waves in gold combined with the carved relief and mother of pearl inlay technique brilliantly features Khang's ingenuity. The work's composition, focusing on human figures against a stark background, is quite rare and at the time, revolutionary, in Vietnam.
A lacquer painting by the artist, also dated 1945 with the same size and a similar subject but of a different composition, is on display at the Fine Arts Museum in Hanoi. The two works could very well be a pair, as was usually the case for pieces executed for important exhibitions or prestigious collections during that period. Regardless, Fishing Under the Moonlight finely exemplifies the golden age of Vietnamese lacquer works of art.
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