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
Duchanee 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 Pornchai Lerttamasiri.