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Yan Pei-Ming (B. 1960), Farmer. Photo Sotheby's

titled in French, signed in Chinese and Pinyin and dated1999 on the reverse; oil on canvas; 200.5 by 200.5 cm.; 78 7/8  by 78 7/8  in. Estimation 2 000 000 — 2 500 000 RMB

Provenance: Private Collection, China
Poly, Beijing, 28 May, 2008, lot 415

Exposition: China, Shanghai, Minsheng Art Museum, Minsheng Art Museum Openning Exhibition- 30 Years of Chinese Contemporary Art, p.360

Yan Pei-Ming: Black and White Portrait

Born in Shanghai in 1960, Yan Peiming went to France to study at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Dijon in 1980, becoming one of the first contemporary Chinese artists to emigrate. Although performance art and installation were more popular among artists during his time in Dijon, Yan insisted on painting on canvas and particularly was drawn to large-scale portraits. Around 1985, he began painting only in black, white, and red, shunning all other colours. This was an attempt to break away from the tradition of oil painting and a way to perfect his personal style. Yan's experimentation with this new style is most evident in his portraits from the late 1980's to the present. He has painted Mao Zedong, Bruce Lee, his father, his friends, himself, the children in Cambodian slums—all subjects with which he had a personal and emotional connection. Yan's style is understated, and for this reason his portraits escape the risk of being reduced to symbols. The three portraits from 1999 and 2002 clearly demonstrate Yan Peiming's characteristic brushwork—fluid, rapid, and vigorous. Transcending the expectations and requirements of portraiture, Yan magnifies his subjects' faces and yet blurs their features, generating a visual conundrum. Instead of simply recognizing the subjects, the viewer is thus forced to imagine the painter's actions, experiences, and emotions. Through his special  brushwork and choice of colours, Yan portrays different individuals and their lives while also exploring the meaning of war, poverty, injustice, life, and death.

Sotheby's. Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art. Beijing | 01 déc. 2013 - www.sothebys.com