Le Pho's 'Vietnamese Lady' fetches $550,000 at Singapore painting auction

By Hieu Nhan   August 28, 2022 | 08:39 pm PT
"Vietnamese Lady," an ink and gouache painting on silk by late artist Le Pho sold for S$781,200 (US$558,200) at an auction at Sotheby's in Singapore last weekend.

Sold at Sotheby's sale of "Modern and Contemporary Art" live auction in Singapore on Aug. 28, the price was in line with experts' estimation of S$620,000-1 million for the 28.5 x 23.5 centimeter work.

The buyer was a Vietnamese collector.

Vietnamese Lady by Le Pho. Photo courtesy of Sothebys

"Vietnamese Lady" by Le Pho. Photo courtesy of Sotheby's

It depicts a young lady dressed in a white ao dai sitting on a traditional wooden chair, gazing at the viewer.

According to the auction house, the work is "exquisitely painted and exceptionally rare," displaying the artist’s "unparalleled technical mastery in handling silk as a medium."

The auction also saw works by several other Vietnamese artists go under the hammer, including Mai Trung Thu's "Children Playing," which sold for S$504,000.

"Tierfabel" (Animal Fable) by German artist Walter Spies sold for over S$4 million, the highest price in the auction.

Tierfabel by Walter Spies. Photo courtesy of Sothebys

"Tierfabel" by Walter Spies. Photo courtesy of Sotheby's

The auction featured 50 paintings by 37 artists from Southeast Asia besides some big names from around the world.

Pho (1907-2001), who had the most number of works at the auction, eight, was born in Hanoi and moved to France in 1937 and lived there until his death.

He was a prominent painter with a long and successful career in France during which he created thousands of paintings. He was named along with Vu Cao Dam, Le Thi Luu and Mai Trung Thu as the four most prominent artists of the "golden age of Vietnamese modern art."

He was the first Vietnamese artist to breach the million U.S. dollar mark. His first work to fetch over $1 million was "Family Life" at Sotheby's Hong Kong auction house in April 2017.

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