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Under the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV), art had to serve the national independence and, increasingly, the communist cause. The French had first introduced modern art to Vietnam via the creation of the École des Beaux arts d’Indochine. While the school did not outlive the Japanese coup de force of 9 March 1945, it trained some of postcolonial Vietnam’s most important artists, several of whom would join the DRV. Vietnamese painter To Ngoc Van, for example, studied and taught at the École des Beaux arts between 1939 and 1945. With the advent of the DRV in September 1945, he persuaded many colonially trained artists to put their talents in the service of the nationalist cause. Following the outbreak of full-scale war in Hanoi on 19 December 1946, To Ngoc Van led the way in creating the DRV’s School of Fine Arts (Truong Trung Cap My Thuat) in the northern hills. It was also known as the “Resistance Class”. Artists working there painted for the war effort, the cause of national independence and, increasingly, Marxism-Leninism and social realism. These artists painted scenes depicting the daily life and heroism of the army and its soldiers. Others focused on ethnic minorities, workers, and peasants, all priorities for the communist party. To Ngoc Van was wounded while covering the battle of Dien Bien Phu and died shortly thereafter. See also CULTURE; INTELLECTUALS; NEW HERO; NOVELS; RECTIFICATION; TRAN DAN; WOMEN.