Thai modern art started around 1924, when Corrado Feroci, an Italian sculptor was invited to Thailand by King Rama VI ( 1910-1925). He produced bronze statues of the exploits of Thailand’s past heroes. In 1933, one year after the Revolution which established a constitutional monarchy, Feroci was asked to establish an institute of fine arts within the department of Fine Arts. The purpose of this new school was to instruct a new generation of sculptors and painters in modern art.
Feroci devoted his energies up to the time of his death in 1962 to this laudatory purpose. The school was eventually elevated to the status of a university and changed its name to Silpakorn (Fine Arts) University. Feroci’s own name was changed to be Silpa Bhirasri, the name by which he is known today. Silpa Bhirasri is regarded as the Father of Modern Art in Thailand.
Following the introduction of modern art in Thailand, Thai painters began experimenting with Impressionism and Cubism to a lesser extent. Thai painters chose nature themes or depicted rural scenes, usually devoid of people. Angkarn Kalayanapongsa, Misiem Yipintsoi and Tawan Dutchanee led Thai modern art into different forms of art than seen in Thailand to that time. Some of Tawan and Prateung Emjaroen’s works displayed Buddhist themes rendered in exquisite detail.
One of the outstanding Thai artists of this later period was Chakrabhand Posayakri, a portraitist interpreting classical themes in soft colors. Another highly regarded Thai artist of this period who excelled in realistic depictions of Thai scenes was Acharn Saard. His paintings which are primarily in oils offer a richness of color and a realistic depth of presentation which few Thai artists before or since have equaled.
Other well known Thai artists nowadays include Aree Soothipunt, Kosol Pingul and more. Please Click here to see more of Thai contemporary art.