Chen Yifei (Chinese, 1946–2005) was a painter best known for his realistic portraits of Chinese women in traditional dress, and landscapes depicting the Chinese countryside. Born in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, Chen studied at the Shanghai College of Art in the style of Russian Socialist Realism. Shortly after he graduated, Chen was painting propaganda for the Cultural Revolution, including portraits of Mao Tse-Tung. After the Cultural Revolution diminished in power, Chen painted Looking at History from My Space (1979), portraying the artist looking at a wall depicting historical events in China during the 1910s and 1920s. Chen lived in New York from 1980 to 1990, and found commercial success by painting Chinese subject matter in a Romantic Realist style, characterized by dark, rich colors. His subject matter includes melancholic women, Chinese musicians, Tibetan villagers, and landscapes of the Chinese countryside. His Poppy (1991)—the title of which refers to a song by the Tang Dynasty poet Bo Zhuyi—depicts a young woman in traditional dress holding a rigid posture against a black background. When Chen returned to Shanghai, he painted Tiben and Chinese landscapes in an Impressionist style, and designed projects for hotels, fashion, films, and home furnishings. His work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the Shanghai Museum, and the China National Museum of Fine Arts.

Timeline

1946
Born, Ningbo, Zhenhai, Zhejiang Province
1964
Graduated from High School for Art, Shanghai, China
1965
Diploma, Shanghai Art Training School, China
1970
Recognized as the leading artist at the Shanghai Institute of Painting, Shanghai, China
1984
Master of Art Degree, Hunter College, New York, NY
1980–1990
Lived and worked in the United States
2005
Died, Shanghai, China

Exhibitions

2006
Summer Exhibition, Marlborough Fine Art Ltd., London, England
2006
Fiction@Love, MOCA Shanghai, Shanghai, China
2005
Chen Yifei (1946-2005), Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd, London, England (solo)
2005
Chen Yifei (1946-2005), Marlborough Galerie AG, Zurich (solo)
2003
Ouevres Récentes, Marlborough Monte-Carlo, Monaco (solo)
2001
Initial Image, Yibo Gallery, Shanghai, China
1999
New Works, Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1997
Paintings of Tibet, Pavilion of the People's Republic of China, XLVII Venice Biennale (solo)
1997
Chen Yifei, Première Exposition en France, Musée Granet, Aix-en-Provence, France (solo)
1996–1997
First London Exhibition, Marlborough Fine Art, London, England (solo)
1996–1997
The Homecoming of Chen Yifei, Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, China; The China National Museum of Fine Arts, Beijing, China (solo, retrospective)
1990
Recent Paintings, Seibu Museum, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
1990
Hammer Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1988
Hammer Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1986
Hammer Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1983
New England Centre for Contemporary Art, USA (solo)
1983
Hammer Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1982
New England Centre for Contemporary Art, USA (solo)
1981
New England Centre for Contemporary Art, USA (solo)
1980
New England Centre for Contemporary Art, USA (solo)