Vietnamese ‘Nude’ goes under the hammer for record sum

By Ngoc Dinh   May 27, 2019 | 12:44 am PT
Le Pho’s "Nue" (Nude) fetched $1.4 million, the highest auction price ever for a Vietnamese painting, at a Christie’s session.
Nue (Nude) by Le Pho

Nue (Nude) by Le Pho

The oil painting was sold for HKD10.9 million ($1.4 million) at the 20th Century & Contemporary Art auction held by Christie’s Hong Kong auction house on Sunday.

Nue, 90.5 centimeters wide and 180.5 centimeters long, was created in 1931. It was part of Californian Tuan H. Pham’s collection prior to the auction.

The final bid was 2.5 times higher than the price of HKD4-6 million ($509,000-764,000) estimated prior to the auction, making it the most expensive painting to be sold in the session.

Another artwork from Le Pho, "Le Bain de Mer" (The Bath At Sea), was sold for HKD3,965,000 ($505,137).

The Bath At Sea by Le Pho.

The Bath At Sea by Le Pho.

Le Pho (1907-2001) was a prominent Vietnamese painter who made a successful career in France. He has thousands of artworks to his credit. He is also the first Vietnamese artist to have had paintings sell for a million dollars in public auctions. His first painting to fetch over $1 million was "Family Life" at the Sotheby's Hong Kong auction house in April 2017.

The latest auction also witnessed the first time an artwork of Vietnamese famous painter To Ngoc Van was sold at over $1 million. His painting "Les Désabusées" (Disillusionment), painted on silk in 1932, sold for HKD9.1 million ($1.1 million).

There were 138 Vietnamese paintings among the 232 art pieces presented in the auction session. Other paintings sold in the auction included "Le Pécheur et Sa Famille" (Fisherman and Family) by Luong Xuan Nhi at $596,000 and "Le Sommeil" (The Sleep) by Mai Trung Thu at $318,000.

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