Le Pho is known today as one of the most prominent names in all of Vietnamese art, with two distinct types of artwork becoming his signatures: pastoral scenes featuring flowers and women as well as calligraphic art done in silk, bringing together the sensibilities and techniques of the east and west. While we can see Le Pho works in fine museums like Paris’s Museum d’Art Moderne, do you know exactly what led to his success? Let’s take a closer look.
The tenth out of twenty children, Le Pho was born into a position of privilege, being the son of the Viceroy of Tonkin. This good fortune gave him access to some of the best arts education available in Vietnam, with him starting painting at 16 before enrolling at the Ecole des Beaux Arts de l’Indochine in Hanoi, teaching painting there as well. After furthering his education in Paris, Le Pho would briefly return to Hanoi to teach before formerly settling down in Paris. Women have always been a common presence in his painting, from his early period to when he moved onto oil painting.
Notably, among Vietnamese artists, not only is Le Pho one of the most recognizable, but his work is also seen as the most lucrative. For example, his work, “Girl picks up flowers” recently commanded $339,797 at auction. There are also several paintings by him still held in his native Vietnam, where they are among the most expensive paintings available. In 2007, Gallery Leslie Hintman valued his “Woman in Garden” at a grand total of $30,000-50,000. Generally, his smaller paintings sell between $6000 and $8000.
Several other prominent examples show Le Pho’s place in the pantheon of Asian artists. When Larasati’s in Singapore held its 10th auction, some Le Pho paintings were auctioned among other great names like Hendra Gunawa, Affandi, Wu Guanzhong, and Sudjana Kerton. There, his painting “Mother and children” was put up for sale for between $102,000 and 128,000. Another example comes from 2009, from Sotheby’s in Hong Kong. There, Le Pho’s “Girl with blue scarf” brought was valued between $100,000 and 120,000. This would be the third most expensive painting in that year’s entire auction.
While Le Pho is most known in Asia, any art collector would be happy to call some of his work their own. If you want to add some of the works of this great artist to your own collection, be sure to keep an eye out on your live auction at Dania Beach.