In 1937 Le Pho returned from Vietnam to settle permanently in France. From 1937 up to 1943 he practised an art which was Chinese in expression, and fused with his Western training. The art critic Waldemar George, who was the author of the artist's biography described the silk paintings of Le Pho from this period: "His touch is delicate, sensitive and vibrant, he brings to light the inwardness of things in works that suggest moral calm and ideal peace ... when he cannot express himself verbally, Le Pho resort to colours and lines."
The present lot is a good representational work from this period where the incorporation of Eastern and Western techniques were more apparent than in his later works in oil which were predominantly impressionistic. The frontal image of two beautiful ladies is rare in the oeuvre of Le Pho as he is more noted for the subjects of Mother and child and narrative landscapes with the depiction of more than two women. Interestingly the work demonstrated a close link with the works of the Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci, as Le Pho incorporated the atmospheric perspective of Mona Lisa in which the contours of the background landscape lost their sharpness and volume to not only achieve a sense of space and distance but also to create a mystic and romantic mood which blends harmoniously with the refined and sensitive lines of Vietnamese silk painting.
Through the contact of Matisse, Le Pho came to know the French gallery owner Jolly in 1943. The same year saw an exhibition of Le Pho in Jolly's gallery where Les deux soeurs was one of the highlights. The work was acquired by a French collector and remained in the collection of the family for over fifty years.