Bui Xuan Phai was born in 1920 in Kim Hoang Village in Hanoi. He had lived in several places within Hanoi's Old Quarter before he passed away in 1988. Hence, every corner and alley of the Old Quarter are featured in his paintings. He attended the Indochina Fine Arts College in 1941.
In addition to paintings about the Old Quarter, the painter was also famous for his artworks about theatrical topics, nude paintings, and portraits.
He was honored with many local and international awards, including national art exhibition awards in 1946 and 1980, and Graphic Prize of Leipzig (Germany).
The painter was posthumostly awared with the highest national award, the Ho Chi Minh Prize in literature and art in 1996.
The Bui Xuan Phai Prize, named after the venerable painter, was launched to honor his career as per his family and the The thao & Van hoa (Sports and Culture) newspaper. It aims to encourage new painters to work for the country and for their beloved Hanoi.
Many streets in different cities in the country are also named after the painter.
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