An oil painting by a famed 20th-century painter from Vietnam went under the hammer at an auction in Hong Kong on Sunday for nearly US$1.4 million, a record price for a work by a Vietnamese artist.
The painting Nude, or Nue, which was painted in oil on canvas by late artist Le Pho in 1931, was put up for auction at a starting price of $520,000-770,000 by Christie’s Hong Kong at its 20th Century & Contemporary art sales session.
Nude eventually went under the hammer to an anonymous bidder for nearly $1.4 million, 2.5 times higher than the starting point, setting a new record for the most expensive work by a Vietnamese artist sold at auction.
The 90.5cm x 180.5cm oil painting was also the most expensive sold at Sunday’s event.
The artwork previously belonged to a private collection of 20th-century Vietnamese art pieces amassed in 25 years by Tuan Pham, a U.S.-based art collector of Vietnamese descent.
|The painting Le Bain de Mer by late Vietnamese artist Le Pho
The $1.4 million hammer price for Nude smashed the previous record also held by a work of Pho, Doi Song Gia Dinh (Family Life), an ink and gouache panting on silk canvas that sold for $1.2 million at an auction by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong in 2017.
Tuan Pham also put Le Bain de Mer (The Bath at the Sea) - another work of Pho in his collection - on sale at Sunday’s auction in Hong Kong. The work sold for HKD3.96 million ($505,161), nearly two times its starting price.
Le Pho (1907-2001) was first discovered by American art gallerist Wally Findlay in the 1960s. Christie’s and Sotheby’s are two of the world’s most prestigious auction houses that have continuously auctioned off his paintings since.
Christie’s Hong Kong also honored some of the greatest masters of modern Vietnamese fine arts, including To Ngoc Van and Luong Xuan Nhi, with 138 out of 232 items at auction on Sunday being works by Vietnamese artists.
Notably, the silk painting Les Désabusées (Disillusionment) by To Ngoc Van sold for more than $1.1 million, marking the first time his work had surpassed the one-million-dollar mark at an auction.
|The painting Les Désabusées by late Vietnamese artist To Ngoc Van