1907-2001 | Vietnamese
Signed in Chinese and "Le pho" (lower right)
Oil on canvas
Two women sit amongst the flowers in this serene oil by Vietnamese painter Le Pho. Alongside Vu Cao Dam, Le Pho was one of the most important Vietnamese painters of the modern age. His portrayals of women on silk and canvas offer a unique mix of Eastern and Western styles that give his works a wide international appeal. Le Pho is most renowned for his works of women, and he captures them in states of both thoughtful repose and joyful jubilation. His figures are rooted in the Oriental tradition, with delicate curves that imbue his subjects with a fragile elegance. Yet, his colors reveal his Western influences, particularly those of the great Henri Matisse, whose palette he emulated throughout his career.
In the present work, Composition, Le Pho positions his subjects within a light-filled garden setting that is heavily reminiscent of his Western contemporaries. Having spent several years studying and working in France, Le Pho developed his own unique, impressionistic style that melded Asian traditions with the styles and colors of Matisse and Pierre Bonnard. In Composition, these Western influences are boldly manifested in his fluid, nearly transparent use of vibrant color that breathes life into the garden scene.
Born in Vietnam in 1907, Le Pho was the son of the Viceroy of Tonkin, Lê Hoan. Thanks to his prominent upbringing, he received a cultured education. He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts of Hanoi for five years and then at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris for another two years. When in Paris, he encountered many of the Post-Impressionist painters who would greatly influence his style, as well as the Old Master paintings that inspired his many madonna-like subjects. Today, his works can be found in the Musée d'Art Moderne (Paris), the National Museum of Fine Arts (Hanoi) and the Oklahoma Arts Center, among others.
Canvas: 32 1/4" high x 39 1/2" wide
Frame: 37 3/4" high x 45" wide
Private Collection, Oklahoma
Wally Findlay Galleries, New York
Private Collection, New York
M.S. Rau, New Orleans