Le Pho (1907-2001)

Le Pho’s paintings are a stunning combination of delicate Asian artistry and contemporary Western art. Le Pho tended toward semi-Impressionist depictions of people and flowers. Early in his artistic career, Le Pho preferred painting on silk to painting on canvas, which necessitated the creation of his own unique painting technique. He eventually circled back to painting on canvas, and by doing so was able to paint with great richness yet emulate the delicate surface texture that he had mastered while painting on silk.

Born in Vietnam on August 2, 1907, Le Pho had a sophisticated background even as a young art student. His father was the Viceroy of Tonkin, a powerful position which allowed young Le Pho to have access to prestigious educational opportunities. He began his education at the School of Fine Arts in Hanoi (1925-1930), and spent the next two years studying at l’École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1933, upon his return to Hanoi, he was given a professorial position at the Hanoi School of Fine Arts, a post which he held until 1936. While studying in Paris, he became a student of Victor Tardieu who, during his art student days, had been friends with Henri Matisse.

Le Pho was sent back to Paris in 1937 to serve as the Artistic Director of the Indochinese exhibit in the Paris International Exposition, an event in which he also served as a member of the jury. Le Pho decided to remain in Paris from that point onward. His first solo exhibition was in Paris in 1938, which served as a launch pad for his artistic career in Europe. Toward the end of his life, Le Pho had many one-man shows in Paris, Nice, Lyon, Strasbourg, Nantes, Rouen, Brest, Algiers, Casablanca, Brussels, Caracas, and Buenos Aires, New York, and San Francisco. He was honored by being named artistic advisor to the Embassy of Vietnam in Paris, was a prize winner and annual exhibitor at some of the finest and most well-respected exhibitions and salons in Europe, and has paintings in the permanent collections of the world’s most renowned museums.

Le Pho and Family - 1964
Image Courtesy of the Findlay Institute

Record Price Achieved at Auction

View from the Hilltop
Christie’s Hong Kong Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art (Evening Sale) (Sale 3357)
Lot 16 November 22, 2014

A Wally Findlay Artist