On November 18, 2015, the Affordable Art Fair team and a select group of our patrons will have the opportunity to visit the home of art dealer, Judith Hughes Day. Founder of Vietnamese Contemporary Fine Art, Judith has showcased contemporary Vietnamese art to our audiences for many years at our fairs. We are delighted to have her open her home and collection to us, and can’t wait to visit next month!
In eager anticipation, we’ve been chatting to Judith about art, travel and her path to becoming a leading art dealer of Vietnamese contemporary art. Read on to discover a little about Judith and join us during our tour on November 18th to learn even more and see her collection!
Dang Xuan Hoa, Crouching Tiger, 2015, gouache on paper.
Judy, tell us about yourself – how did you come to be a contemporary Vietnamese art dealer?
I became a Vietnamese art dealer quite by accident. I’ve lived in three Asian countries, but long before that I knew I had an affinity for Asian art. When my husband and I first moved to New York, I enrolled for a second master’s degree at Columbia University in East Asian Studies and Japanese Art History. When I graduated, my husband and I were transferred to Hong Kong, where there is very little Japanese art. Fortunately for me, I had a very good friend there who had visited Vietnam once and had collected some Vietnamese paintings.
When we arrived she told me that she wanted to start a gallery of contemporary Vietnamese art, and she wanted me to be her partner. I was reluctant at first, having never seen any Vietnamese art, but, in the end, I helped her find gallery space. When she was ready to go to Vietnam, she invited me to join to meet artists, buy art, and to make up my mind about what I wanted to do. Once I met the artists and saw their work, I was just so excited and happy to be able to help introduce their artworks to the world outside of Vietnam.
Dang Xuan Hoa, Summer Bouquet, 2013, oil on canvas.
When did you start your gallery?
My work with contemporary Vietnamese artists began in Hong Kong in 1992. We opened Galerie La Vong in Hong Kong in 1993. I worked in management and sales for the gallery until late 1997, when we moved back to New York. I then began working as a private art dealer specializing in contemporary Vietnamese art. In the United States, I thought it best to be direct and called my business Vietnamese Contemporary Fine Art.
What has been your favorite city or village in Vietnam to travel to and visit in the search for new artists to represent?
Hanoi is my favorite city in Vietnam to travel to. It is where most of the artists I work with live, and it’s a beautiful, ancient city – it’s the cultural center of the country.
When did you first participate in art fairs? How many do you do a year?
I first started participating in art fairs in 1998, shortly after I returned to the US. I now participate in about six art fairs each year. I also rent gallery spaces in New York for exhibitions, work with galleries in other parts of the country, and have curated some museum, university, and public space exhibitions as well as two exhibitions for the Vietnamese Government: one in Washington DC and one at San Francisco’s City Hall. And I show work by appointment in my home.
If you didn’t become an art dealer, what do you think you’d be doing instead?
I might like to be a museum curator, or an actual painter, or maybe a writer – creativity expresses itself in many ways. But I am very happy doing what I do.
If you’d like to join us on November 18th for a tour of Judith’s collection, please enquire about tickets here!
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