Family Life, an artwork by late Vietnamese painter Le Pho, fetched US$1.2 million at a Modern and Contemporary Art auction at Hong Kong’s Sotheby’s home late last week.
The painting, made with ink and gouache — a type of watermedia consisting of pigment, water, a binding agent (usually dextrin or gum arabic), and sometimes additional inert material — is 82cm x 66cm and was completed during the period of 1937-39.
It combined "Oriental" themes with "Occidental" forms, a specialty in Pho’s works.
Le Pho (1907 - 2001) was a Vietnamese painter. In 1932, he earned a scholarship to study at École des Beaux-Arts (National School of Fine Arts) in Paris. After returning to the country, he taught at Vietnam University of Fine Arts in Hanoi.
His favourite subjects are Vietnam landscapes, still life with flowers, family settings and portraits. Vietnamese women — often portrayed as elongated, surrealistic figures — are a recurrent theme in his works.
As part of the university’s first generation, Pho spent most of his time working in France. Each of his works are painstakingly well-preserved, stored and separated into seperated files. Thanks to that, his paintings are thriving on the world market. His works normally range from US$10,000 to US$50,000 per painting.
Before Family Life was sold, three other of the artist’s pieces sold at high prices this year.
The trio Nhin Tu Dinh Doi (A View From Top of The Hill, oil in canvas, 1937), sold at US$844,697 , Thieu Nu va Canh Na (Young Lady and the Sugar Apple branch, silk on canvas, 1938), sold at US$567,178 at Hong Kong’s Christie’s; and Tinh Mau Tu (Motherhood, silk canvas, 1940) sold at US$629,276 at Hongkong’s Sotheby’s.VNA