Oil on canvas, signed, dated, titled on reverse
150 x 150 cm
59 1/16 x 59 1/16 in.
Galerie Anne de Villepoix, Paris
Private collection, Paris
The Portrait-Robot of 1992 and Self-Portrait of 2002 are paintings representative of Yan Pei-Ming's work in several respects, particularly the subject matter and technique.
Yan Pei-Ming is chiefly the portraitist of famous people. He began with Mao Zedong, then broadened his inspiration to include many other famous figures like the Pope, Barack Obama and Michael Jackson. The 1992 Portrait-Robot represents Mao, whom Yan Pei-Ming painted several times. However, the artist also paints anonymous people, his father and himself. The second work we are presenting, the Self-Portrait of 2002, is one of these.
The artist's work is also characterised by its singular, highly recognisable technique. Firstly, he uses a variety of formats ranging from fairly small, like Portrait-Robot, to monumental, as with A Funeral in Shanghai, while Self-portrait is a medium-sized work. Secondly, the two works here demonstrate a constant in his painting technique: he works with brush and roller, using expressive gestures, in monochromes.
Yan Pei-Ming was born in Shanghai in 1960. He learned his art through contact with Chinese political propaganda in the 1960s and 1970s, and has always practised figurative painting. In 1980, he arrived in Paris as a young man, and then entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Dijon, where he assimilated a French influence into the style he had developed in China. In this respect he followed directly in the footsteps of other Chinese artists who came to study and work in France, like Lin Fengmian, Zao Wou-Ki and Chu Teh-Chun.
For several years now, the artist has enjoyed real acclaim from both institutions and the market. He was a resident of the Villa Medici in 1993 and his work has been bought by the world's major collectors. More recently, he was hosted by the Louvre in a series called The Funeral of Mona Lisa, which confronted his work with Leonardo's masterpiece. In 2019 he was invited to the Musée Courbet in Ornans for the exhibition Yan PeiMing/Courbet: face to face, where a synthesis of his and the 19th century painter's work was presented. The same year, a few months later, he was also invited to the Petit Palais for the exhibition Yan Pei-Ming/Courbet: Close Combat, to the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Dijon (Yan Pei-Ming: the crying man), and to the Musée d'Orsay for the exhibition A Funeral in Shanghai.