The exterior of this place shows something quite different from the usual art museum. The golden yellow and white construction is from a design from French architect Rivera. It was originally designed and built as a villa for the Hua family, who was a wealthy Chinese family based in the city around the 1930s.
After the revolution and certain events throughout the 1940s-1970s, ownership changed frequently until 1987. The government partitioned this building to display fine arts from Vietnam and other places around the world. There are some highlights to experience visiting here that are not just about the artistic displays.
Spread out over an area of around 3500m2, the layout is very similar to villas seen around Southern Europe in the 19th century. This place is an artwork. The art-deco design displays a spiraling staircase that allows accessing the artworks on three stories in this u-shaped building. All areas of the window have huge terraced windows and balconies provide a view to the exquisite courtyard. The courtyard hosts local art events from time to time.
The inside has a grand lobby with staircases on either side of the museum. The long yellow hallways lead visitors to the various rooms which display art. The ground floor and first floor are generally used for display from local artists and temporary exhibitions. The second floor is reserved for fine art that has become high-valued antiquities. The top floor shows old art from Vietnam is previous times, such as works from Buddhism and the Champa Kingdom.
Artworks to look out for include the bronze statues of Hindu and Buddhist Gods which date back to the 5th century. Champa style sculptures amalgamate various religious practices at the time and are decorated with a distinctive Champa stamp. Vietnamese art practices can be viewed, ranging from the Tomb sculptures to a collection of ancient Vietnamese ceramics and a show of Southern Vietnamese fine art paintings. One such artwork particularly displays a grand vision of red, which provides quite a deep relaxing feeling in this hall.
The Fine Arts Museum is located at 97A Pho Duc Chinh Street, D1. The opening hours are 08:00-17:00. Tickets are 30,000vnd for adults, 15,000vnd for students and children.