In the late 1920s, a few students at the cole des Beaux-Arts de l'Indochine in Hanoi, Vietnam developed painting on silk mostly under the guidance of Victor Tardieu and Nam Son, the two co-founders of the art college. Amongst them were Nguyen Phan Chanh, Tran Binh Loc and Nguyen Van Thinh. Silk painting was encouraged as part of the cole des Beaux-Arts de l'Indochine's emphasis on the learning of traditional techniques such as lacquer and silk.
The medium lends itself to misunderstanding. The more appropriate term for painting on silk is actually painting on silk applied on paperboard. In fact, each and every of the artists who wanted to paint on silk had to have the base medium prepared meticulously before he could paint on it.
The Colonial Exhibition in Paris 1931 was a turning point in the success of 20th century Vietnamese painting on silk. Their works were well received by the art public of that time and was also published in the very important and influential journal of the time, L'illustration. From that point on, silk painting not only became one of the two pillars of modern Vietnamese art, alongside lacquer, but since then, has gained greater appreciation amongst connoisseurs.