Le Pho was a 20th century artist who is best known for his portraits of Vietnamese women set in lush tropical landscapes. He was born in Vietnam in 1907 and began learning how to paint at the Ecole Superieure des Beaux-Arts in the capitol city of Hanoi, where he developed his artistic skills between 1925 and 1930. His talents and hard work were rewarded with a scholarship to study at the well-known Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1932. He eventually returned home to Vietnam and taught art instruction in Hanoi.
He returned to Paris in 1937 when he was selected to become part of the jury at the International Exposition there, and had his first show in that city the following year. He enjoyed great success with his career throughout Europe, Morocco and New York. He continued to live in France until his death on December 12th 2001, though he traveled frequently to promote his work at galleries worldwide.
Le Pho's early work consisted primarily of exquisite landscape scenes of his home country. The next phase of his career was influenced by the French art gallery owner, Romanet, who helped to promote Le Pho's work until the 1960's. In 1963 his paintings began to be promoted to the American market and he focused primarily on works depicting Vietnamese women in exotic landscapes. The figures often have long, elegant lines and the canvases frequently include brightly colored floral still lifes and family scenes. The figures in his paintings show the influence of surrealism, with elongated necks and limbs covered by delicate, gracefully flowing fabrics. His distinctive style eventually developed from a blending of eastern and western artistic traditions.
Today Le Pho's simple, peaceful, poetic paintings continue to bring tranquility and delight to his avid collectors worldwide.