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Silk painting by acclaimed Vietnamese painter Le Pho auctioned for over $2.3mn

Silk painting by acclaimed Vietnamese painter Le Pho auctioned for over $2.3mn

Monday, April 10, 2023, 21:04 GMT+7
Silk painting by acclaimed Vietnamese painter Le Pho auctioned for over $2.3mn
According to Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 'La famille dans le jardin' is one of the most elaborate, beautiful masterpieces of painter Le Pho. Photo: Sotheby’s Hong Kong

The silk painting called La famille dans le jardin by painter Le Pho fetched more than US$2.3 million at an auction to celebrate the 50th anniversary of auction house Sotheby’s Hong Kong.

'La famille dans le jardin' (Family in a garden) by acclaimed painter Le Pho was sold at 18.6 million Hong Kong dollars, inclusive of taxes, equivalent to US$2.369 million.

The painting was sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong’s Modern Evening Auction at 5:30 pm (Hong Kong time) on April 5.

Given this price, the 'La famille dans le jardin' painting is officially Le Pho’s most valuable work, and the second-priciest in the history of Vietnamese fine art, after painter Mai Trung Thu’s portrait of Miss Phuong sold at $3.1 million, according to Ace Le, Sotheby’s CEO for the Vietnamese market.

This price surpasses that of the painter’s oil painting called ‘Figures in a garden,' which was also auctioned off by Sotheby’s Hong Kong on April 7, 2022 for $2.29 million. 

This is also the first million-dollar record of 2023, a year of multiple economic challenges, showing an optimistic signal.

‘The family in a garden’ had earlier been auctioned in 1999, along with a certificate from Alain Le Kim, the late painter’s son. 

The work was produced in 1938, a year after Le Pho settled in France.

The auction in Hong Kong brought together works of big names in the modern art segment in the world and in Asia such as Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Joan Miro, Wu Guanzhong, Zao Wou-Ki, and Georgette Chen.

‘La famille dans le jardin’ was painted on delicate silk with stringent technical requirements.

Notably, the painting has a large size, making it the second-largest work of this type created by painter Le Pho to appear on the auction market.

Similar to French Impressionist paintings that describe a photographic, realistic, and transient scene, Le Pho’s paintings capture an impermanent moment, a leisurely family setting with private interactions in the outdoor space.

This is a rare masterpiece of sophistication and charm, a testament to the culmination of the innovation period of the Vietnamese modern art.

“This is a silk painting created during Le Pho’s second period – the most important period of his life," said researcher Ly Doi. 

"In 1937, he returned to France, then settled down until his death in 2001 in Paris without a comeback to his motherland.

"It was the period of nostalgia, with so many feelings that there were no words to say, and only paintings could express them.

“In addition, for a full-sized silk painting, with the height of 91.3 centimeters and the width of 61.5 centimeters, characteristic techniques and styles, good preservation, a universal theme, images of ancient clothes and modern ao dai (Le Pho ao dai), feminineness and feminism are easily favored by many people."

The painting ‘Jeune femme en bleu dans un paysage’ by artist Vu Cao Dam is sold at 5.5 million Hong Kong dollars ($700,640). Photo: Sotheby’s Hong Kong

The painting ‘Jeune femme en bleu dans un paysage’ by artist Vu Cao Dam was sold for 5.5 million Hong Kong dollars ($700,640). Photo: Sotheby’s Hong Kong

Among Vietnam’s three important paintings put up for the auction, two saw the selling prices exceed the estimated levels. Le Pho’s painting is unsurprising despite the higher-than-expected price.

Vu Cao Dam’s 'Jeune femme en bleu dans un paysage' painting is quite beautiful, but its price did not reach 8.6 million Hong Kong dollars, or $1 million.

The work ‘Femmes et enfants au bord de la riviere’ by painter Mai Trung Thu fetched 4.5 million Hong Kong dollars ($573,260) at the auction. Photo: Sotheby’s Hong Kong

The work ‘Femmes et enfants au bord de la riviere’ by painter Mai Trung Thu fetched 4.5 million Hong Kong dollars ($573,260) at the auction. Photo: Sotheby’s Hong Kong

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Tieu Bac - Huynh Vy / Tuoi Tre News

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