Victor Tardieu and Joseph Inguimberty were two artists who had rendered great services to Vietnamese painting, but between them, differences often occured with regards to the methods they used to train their students. Tardieu liked to work in an atelier with models and a composition in accordance with classical rules, while Inguimberty was inclined to work in the open air with a composition consistent with natural logics, moving images and ever changing light.
Interestingly, most of Tardieu's works with the Vietnamese subjects did not correspond with his teaching principles. These works were mainly executed on 'pochades', a panel of wood conveniently small enough for him to carry around as his sketch book, for the recording of his most immediate impressions of Vietnam. These studies which consist of quick, successive strokes subsequently became complete pictures in their own right. However, these meticulously arranged compositions, such as that of the present lot, never hinted at the spontaneous and almost immediate response of the artist to his subjects.
Tardieu's subject-matter usually encompassed culturally important sites and monuments, like the flower market in Hanoi, the Minh Mang Tomb at Hue and as in the present lot, the Red River. It is this choice of subject-matter that reveals the dictum of his teaching mission in Vietnam: to defend the national character of Vietnam. Therefore the medium is irrelevant in categorising painting but the content should give its identity.