Kim Bạch was born in Hoc Mon district (now Ho Chi Minh city), South Vietnam. In 1954, she moved to the northern communist area as a result of the socio-political situation, which caused major turmoil in the lives of a great number of Vietnamese. She studied first in Hanoi, which later became her second home, before pursuing her studies at the Soviet National Fine Arts University in Kiev, Ukraine. In 1967 she returned to Vietnam, and taught for nearly three decades at the Industrial Fine Arts University of Hanoi.
Vietnam has a complex history of modern art involving indigenous forms like lacquer and silk art, as well as influences from French colonialism, American imperialism, Marxist-inspired propaganda art from both China and Russia, and now post-colonial globalism. Incorporating lacquer painting as well as Chinese silk painting and Japanese woodcuts into the fine arts, many artists have drawn inspiration from ancient lacquer works.
The artistic career of Kim Bach can be divided into two periods. During the first period, in the 1960s and 1970s, she produced oil paintings mainly on the theme of revolutionary war; during the second “Post Doi Moi” period, she painted portraits, landscapes, and still lifes on silk and experimented with lacquer. These periods are marked less by a distinctive break in style than by logical changes consistent with developments in her personal emotional life and those in Vietnamese society at large.
If portraiture was once a form reserved for the Emperor, the powerful silk portraits of Kim Bach stand as provocative and sensitive gestures, depicting women sitting with, in the background, motifs quoting various painting genres. Throughout her career, she produced many impressive works on themes of war and peace, and the everyday lives of soldiers, field and factory workers, mothers and children, as well as landscapes.