Famed Thai painter, artist dies of COVID-19 in Amsterdam

Chavalit Soemprungsuk in January at the 80+ Art Festival at Numthong Art Space.
Chavalit Soemprungsuk in January at the 80+ Art Festival at Numthong Art Space.

Master painter and national artist in the visual arts Chavalit Soemprungsuk died of coronavirus complications in Amsterdam, Netherlands, according to an announcement on his social media. He was 80.

Chavalit suffered from heart disease and lymphoma before he took ill April 10. He was then diagnosed with COVID-19 and was taken to Amsterdam’s OLVG Hospital on April 17.

He died at 11:30am on Monday. At his request, a funeral will not be held and his body will be donated to research.

His death comes only a week after that of Chatchai Wisetsuwannaphum, aka Panomtian, the author of the longest Thai epic and 1997 national artist in literature.

Over the years, his creative output varied from realistic paintings and abstract creations to sculpture before shifting to experimental digital prints in the last decade. Only a month he died, Chavalit had been in Bangkok for an exhibition of his work at the 80+ Art Festival Thailand, which took place November through March at venues including the Ratchadamnoen Contemporary Art Center and Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre.

Chavalit was born July 30, 1939, in Khon Kaen. He came to Bangkok to study at Silpakorn University, being one of the last students to learn from its founder, Silpa Bhirasri (born Corrado Feroci). He then moved to Amsterdam to study at Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten.

For his work as a painter, he was named a national artist in the visual arts in 2014.


‘Panomtian,’ author of adventures and longest Thai epic, dies at 88


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