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LÊ PHỔ (1907-2001)
Les deux sœurs
Oil on silk mounted on hardboard, signed lower right
29 x 19 3/4 in.
If Asian and European influences can be read, universal codes are also present. codes are also present. The very emblem of femininity, the lotus has been established throughout the different cultures as a sensual flower. Embodying woman, it is also the attribute of purity in Japanese literature.
Considered one of the leading figures in modern Vietnamese art, Lê Phổ was born in 1907 in Ha Tay province into a respected mandarin family. His father was the last viceroy of Tonkin. With his evident predilection for painting and drawing, he was one of the first students to enter the Indochina School of Fine Arts in 1925. He was soon noticed by the director and founder of the school, Victor Tardieu, with whom he maintained a close relationship throughout his life. Lê Phổ brilliantly assimilated all he learned from his teachers. The school fostered Vietnamese artistic traditions like painting on silk and lacquering, while introducing this new generation of artists to Western history and artistic techniques. The influence of the Italian Primitives and the Impressionists is easily sensed in Lê Phổ’s work. In 1931, he travelled to France to show work at the International Colonial Exhibition. He decided to stay in Paris for a year to study at the École des Beaux-Arts, and then made several journeys to Europe. He returned to Vietnam in 1933 and taught at the Indochina School of Fine Arts. He then decided to move permanently to France in 1937, and soon established a glowing reputation.
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