More than 40 paintings by contemporary Vietnamese artists will be on sale at the Sotherby's autumn auction of Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art in Hong Kong on October 3.

The collection includes Ba Co Gai Dang Tam (Three Bathing Girls) painted in 1938 by Le Pho (1907-2001) which is expected to sell for between 77,000-103,000 USD. Also under the hammer will be Canh Chua (A Pagoda) by Pham Hau (1903-95) estimated at 64,000-90,000 USD.

According to Mok Kim Chuan who is responsible for collecting paintings in the Southeast Asia region for Sotherby's, the collection by Vietnamese artists sold at this session played an important role in the country's history and modern art.

"The paintings, which were varied in topics, sizes and materials, had been created by artists such as Le Pho, Pham Hau, Le Van De and Mai Trung Thu," he said.

These paintings are considered on a par with those by other noted artists from the region like West Java 's Affandi and Hendra Gunawan, Indonesian S Sudjojono and Chinese Georgette Chen.

The organisers said as many as 170 works, estimated to fetch 4.2 million USD, would be available at the auction./.