The auction is scheduled to start on June 8.
According to The Value, Le Pho’s Mère et Enfant (Mother and Child) painting is available for an initial price of between EUR200,000 and EUR300,000. Measuring 60 x 46.5 cm, the ink and gouache on silk painting has the artist’s signature in the upper left-hand corner.
Le Pho (1907-2001), a prominent Vietnamese painter, had a successful and prolific career in France, creating thousands of artworks. His work is sought after by art collectors from around the globe.
He is also the first Vietnamese artist whose paintings have sold for US$1 million and over at public auctions. Some of his most famous artworks include “The Family Life”, “Nude”, and “The beauty in a ‘sunshine’ shirt”.
Le Pho’s painting “Nue” (known as “Nude” in English) has set a record as the most expensive Vietnamese painting ever sold at auction. The oil painting was sold for HKD 10.9 million (roughly US$ 1.4 million) at the 20th Century & Contemporary Art auction held by Christie’s Hong Kong in May 2019.
Pho’s first painting to fetch over US$1 million was Family Life, which sold at the Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction house in April, 2017.
Meanwhile, three other works by Mai Trung Thu are being offered at the auction with estimated prices ranging from EUR100,000 to EUR150,000.
Two of the most iconic works by French artist Pablo Picasso, Les deux sœurs (The Two Sisters) and Le balcon (The Balcony), were created in 1945, while La toilette was created in 1943.
Mai Trung Thu (1906-1980), also known as Mai Thu, was born into a prestigious family from northern Vietnam. In 1937, he left France to attend the International Decorative Arts Exhibition with two friends he had made while studying – Le Pho and Vu Cao Dam.
Thu’s paintings have a unique combination of harmony in storytelling and East-West co-ordination. They incorporate materials, structure, and color palette to create an identity specific to a story. This is particularly noteworthy because while the paintings tell a Vietnamese story, they are not so specific or private that Europeans feel excluded.
The Portrait of Mademoiselle Phuong, a 135.5cm x 80cm oil on canvas painting by renowned artist Mai Trung Thu from 1930, was recently offered at Sotheby’s Hong Kong for more than US$3.1 million, making it one of the most expensive pieces of Vietnamese art.