Old Masters


Myanmar modern painting has evolved since the early 20th century characterised by a fecund interaction between traditional Myanmar art forms and contemporary Western ideas.  After the fall of the Konbaung Dynasty (1752 - 1885) and following fifteen years of internal wars, as life in the country gradually returned to normal, passion for artistic expression by Myanmar painters re-emerged with a vengeance.


Master Artist U Thein Han (Center) and his apprentices (1970’s)  

In 1913 in Rangoon, the Burma Art Club was formed by a small group of British painters. The club, which later established by-laws, provided art classes on Sundays initially only for its British members but soon included local Myanmar members. The club played an instrumental role in introducing Western artistic principles to those Myanmar artists.  

U Ba Nyan (1897 - 1945), the most respected and representative Myanmar artist, studied at the Burma Art Club for several years. After his 9-year stint in England where he was the first Myanmar to master new Western artistic principles in 1921, U Ba Nyan returned to Burma in 1930 and started teaching a number of local painters including famous six apprentices; Aye Maung, Thein Han, Thein Tan, Myat Kyaw, Ba Kyi and Aung Khin. Three of his pupils - Thein Han (1910 - 86), Ba Kyi (1912 - 2000) and Aung Khin (1921 - 96) became major artists.

U Ngwe Gaing (1901 - 67) and U Kyaw Hlaing (1914 - 96) also studied art with U Ba Nyan periodically. U Ngwe Gaing became the leading painter in Burma after U Ba Nyan passed away in 1945.  Although several major Myanmar artists emerged from the 1930s onwards who demonstrated considerable mastery and diversity in their artistic expression, U Ba Nyan was widely considered the seminal figure of Burmese modern painting in the 20th century, whose legacy remains in successive generations of Myanmar artists.


Pirica Art Centre is honoured to introduce several representative Myanmar Master painters.

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