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© Fondation Louis Vuitton / Luc Castel

Yan Pei-Ming

Born in 1960, in Shanghai (China)

Lives and works in Dijon (France)

Since the end of the 1980s, Yan Pei-Ming has been known for his “epic-sized” canvasses, often bi-chromatic, painted with large expressive brushes. 

After growing up in a Buddhist monastery until the age of eight, and becoming a propaganda painter, Pei-Ming left China in 1980 and moved to France. He graduated from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Dijon in 1986 and began to work in portraiture, considered a minor genre in China. Pei-Ming made his name the following year with his first series, Heads of Mao. After winning the Prix de Rome in 1993 he has painted many portraits, based on models or documents, of both anonymous and iconic people (Michael Jackson, Jean-Paul II, Bruce Lee, etc.). At the same time, since the mid-1990s, he has revived the tradition of historical painting. Continuing the line of painters such as Goya, David, Delacroix and Géricault, Pei-Ming turns media images of illegal immigrants, the Iraq war or 9/11 into timeless scenes depicting the tragic destiny of humanity. Depicting strength and weakness, compassion and violence, his paintings of himself, Christ, his dying father, big cats or weapons of war form timeless frescos that make no concessions.

Selected Bibliography

Douroux, Xavier ; Gautherot, Franck ; Althaus, Mariette... [et al.]. Night of colours : Yan Pei-Ming : [exposition, Fondation Vincent van Gogh, Arles, 20 septembre 2014 au 26 avril 2015]. Dijon : Presses du réel, 2014. (Art contemporain). 

Loyrette, Henri ; Marcadé, Bernard ; Bernadac, Marie-Laure. Yan Pei-Ming : les funérailles de Monna Lisa : [exposition, musée du Louvre, Paris, 12 février-18 mai 2009]. Paris : Musée du Louvre : Beaux-arts de Paris, 2009. 

Di Pietrantonio, Giacinto. Yan Pei-Ming con Yan Pei-Ming : [esposizione, GAMeC - Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea Bergamo, 19 Marzo - 27 luglio 2008] = Yan Pei-Ming with Yan Pei-Ming : [exhibition, GAMeC - Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea Bergamo, 19 March - 27 july 2008]. [Milano] : Electa ; [Bergamo] : GAMeC, 2008. 

Lee, John. Yan Pei-Ming, exécution : [Exposition, Musée d'art moderne de Saint-Etienne, 3 mars-30 avril 2006]. Dijon : Presses du réel ; Saint-Etienne : Musée d'art moderne de Saint-Etienne, 2006. 

Stoullig , Claire ; Stech, Fabian ; Marcadé, Bernard... [et al.]. Yan Pei-Ming, fils du dragon. Dijon : Presses du réel, 2003. (Art contemporain ; 7). 

***   All materials available at the Documentation Centre of the Fondation  ***

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