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Mr. Tira Vanichtheeranont, an engineer by training, is the owner of an amazing collection of thousands of paintings by famous Vietnamese.   “Vietnam News” Newspaper, published in Vietnam, reported recently the story of how Tira began collecting Vietnamese art works in 2006.  It was by chance that Mr. Tira had the opportunity to meet someone who offered to sell him rare Vietnamese paintings and he decided to invest in them, said the paper.  He became increasingly serious and began his study about art in Vietnam.  After spending two decades in Vietnam working as a telecommunications hardware specialist, Mr. Tira can speak, understand and read Vietnamese. During that time, he also built up his own art networks there and obtained many more rare paintings that now even museums are approaching him to purchase. 

A Visit with Vietnamese Art Collector, Tira Vanichtheeranont
Mr. Tira now has over 2,000 paintings and drawings by renowned Vietnamese artists.  These include the famous Nguyen Cao Thuong’s work, Nguyen Gia Tri, Nguyen Tuong Lan, To Ngoc Van, Bui Xuan Phai, Mai Van Nam and Nguyen Sang, and more.

I met Mr. Tira in December 2014, Mr. Tira came to my painting exhibition entitled “Lines and Strokes of Life” at the Neilson Hays Library on Suriwongse Road, Bangkok, Thailand, and purchased some of my paintings.  After the show, I delivered my paintings to him at his "333 Gallery" and he kindly showed me parts of his art collection - it was impressive.  I particularly liked the hundreds of drawings by famous artist To Ngoc Van that has special historical value as much as its beauty.

A Bright Plan for the Future - An Art Aficionado to watch

Mr. Tira plans to open a museum in Bangkok in the near future to display all the art works in his collection. Now, he is in the process of choosing a location and building.  He believes in these valuable paintings and works of art: “They must be introduced to historical researchers and art lovers,” Mr. Tira told me at the end of my visit.

(Left) Visual feast: A painting by Nguyen Cao Thuong depicting the battle on Bach Dang River in 938 AD led by Ngo Quyen, when invaders of the Southern Han were defeated.  (Right) Some of the books he published to share his collections with other art lovers and art students, such as collection of To Ngoc Van's drawings and the collections of Nguyen Cao Thuong's paintings.
“Pho” or Street by Bui Xuan Phai
Struggling for national liberty by southern people, also by Nguyen Cao Thuong
Mr. Tira and “Giai Phong Thang Long” or Thang Long’s liberation by Ngo Chinh
Thieu Nu Ha Noi (Hanoian Girl) by Van Len
A section in his gallery showing the valuable drawings by To Ngoc Van
I met Mr. Tira at my painting exhibition.  Some of my Vietnamese paintings that Mr. Tira obtained are (lower left) "Busy Saigon" - 2014 and (lower right) "Painting within Painting".
(Above) Breakfast in Hanoi, watercolor, Soraya Runckel
About the author:

Soraya Runckel

Born in Bangkok, Thailand, the daughter of a noted architect and artist renown for his works on Thai architecture, Soraya developed her deep interest in drawing and painting at an early age. She paints in watercolor, pen&ink, acrylic and Chinese Brush paintings. Soraya studied Chinese brush painting for 13 years. She lived and worked in Beijing, China, from 1996 to 1999. Soraya's works have been exhibited extensively, in Thailand, England, USA, Vietnam and China.

The wife of a formal Senior US diplomat, Soraya has traveled extensively. Her work reflects culture and scenes of places she has been to. Her work gives positive feeling, details, and variety. In her previous exhibition in London, Soraya was noted as " artist with skill and mastery in different styles," by the London Times.

Soraya owned and operated her art gallery in the U.S., Asia Art Gallery, from 2001-2003.