He was famous at home and abroad. He graduated from the Indochina Fine Arts College, (15th intake) in 1946.
Mr Phai specialised in oil painting and gouache. He was influenced by the Paris School of Painting.
He greatly succeeded in finding the beauty of the old Hanoi and expressed it with dense, diverse and highly expressive colours. Mr Phai's portraits are strongly affecting. He was also an outstanding illustrator.
He began to paint streets and participated in the Tokyo exhibition when he was a student of the Indochina Fine Arts College. Many of his paintings are in private collections in Vietnam and foreign countries.
He was the prize-winner at the national fine arts exhibitions in 1946 and 1980 the prize-winner for the illustrated book "He Cheo" ("Popular Theatre Clown") in Leipzig.
He worked as a lecturer at the Fine Arts College of Vietnam in 1956 and 1957. He had first individual show held in Hanoi in 1984, and his three individual posthumous shows held in 1989, 1990 and 1992.
Some of his main works are: "The Quang Chuong City Gate" (oil, collection of Nguyen Van Lam) and "Cha Ca Street" (oil, collection of Duc Minh).