LE PHO (1907-2001)

Lot 6
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70 000 - 100 000 €
Result with fees
Result : 91 000 €

LE PHO (1907-2001)

Ink and colors on silk, signed upper right
16.54 x 10.83 in.

The most remarkable known paintings on silk by Le Pho were exhibited in Algiers in 1941-42 by the Romanet gallery. Of exceptional refine­ment, they illustrate the artist's consummate artistry in this delicate technique, though he gradually moved away from it later on. Through a few highly distinctive subjects dating from the late 1930s, he depicted a tender vision of the daily lives of women in Indochina; this is the most sought-after period of his work.
Many of the aspects typical of Le Pho's picto­rial register are evident in the work presented here. The young girl's delicate features set off her peaceful, contemplative look. We also find the use of the artist's beloved immaculate whites; sometimes matt, sometimes with a hint of transparency.
This work stands out in various ways. The limited colour range enables Lee Pho to use subtle variations of yellow, ochre and brown, as well as shades of emerald.
The artist creates a spontaneous feel by cap­turing a precise, transient gesture, giving the scene lightness and balance. The young woman in yellow has just placed her foot on the shore, carrying in one hand a hat used as a basket for fruit and leaves, and holding her veil in the other to stop it falling. The land­scape is barely suggested, with just a line for the horizon and a few bluish strokes for the shore, while a few brush strokes indicate the foam on the little waves.
The excellent condition of the painting and its fresh colours are further assets sure to appeal to enlightened collectors.

Son of the Viceroy of Tonkin, Le Pho was born in 1907 at Hadong. Evincing a keen interest in painting and drawing, and a precocious talent for both, he entered the Ecole des Beaux- Arts d'Indochine, where he was introduced to Western art and techniques such as oil painting. However, the school's teaching in no way impinged upon the cultural identity of its students, and the teachers urged their pupils to maintain an Asian style and technique.
Most of Le Pho's classmates ‘ Le Van De, Mai Trung Thu and Vu Cao Dam ‘ became famous for their use of tempera on silk.
In 1931, Victor Tardieu, the school's founder and director, impressed by the young man's talent, made him his assistant during the Colo­nial Exhibition then held in Paris. After the Exhibition, Le Pho decided to travel around Europe, visiting Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium. His discovery of the Flemish and Italian Primitives and the great Renaissance masters considerably influenced the develop­ment and maturing of his style. He returned for a while to his native country before visiting Beijing in 1934, when he discovered traditional Chinese painting. In 1937, he settled perma­nently in Paris.
With his extraordinary capacity for assimilation, Le Pho developed a highly original synthetic art that underwent significant changes over the course of his career. He gradually moved away from a certain tradition derived from his study of classical Chinese masters and Italian Renaissance painting, and like the major French avant-garde figures he encountered, asserted his kinship with more recent artists.
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