Lin Fengmian was born in China in 1900 under the Qing Dynasty. He was precocious and began painting at the age of five. At the end of his secondary studies, when he was only 18, he went to study in Dijon, France, then in Paris between 1918 and 1925. This made him one of the first Chinese painters to study in France.
He was passionate about Western painters and from 1918 onwards he discovered with wonder and fascination the collections of the Louvre and the Guimet Museum. His European adventure continued in Berlin in 1923 and, the following year, he presented some forty works at the Chinese Exhibition of Ancient and Modern Art in Strasbourg. By drawing inspiration from both Western art and traditional Chinese art, Lin Fengmian created a style all his own. He returned to China in 1925.
He held several important positions, notably at the Beijing National Academy of Arts, and also at the Hangzhou Academy.
He tried to gain a form of independence from his Chinese culture on the one hand, and from his Western art education on the other. The square format of his paintings, which was very unusual in China, as well as his use of vanishing points and chiaroscuro effects to accentuate any perspective betray the Western artistic influences underlying his style.
During the Cultural Revolution in China between 1966 and 1976, the artist was forced to destroy his paintings from before the Revolution. Thus, out of nearly eighty years of artistic production, only thirteen years are actually available to us, explaining the interest aroused by Fengmian’s works in the market, and their value.
Considered by many art historians as the father of Chinese modernity, he played a pivotal role in the development of Chinese contemporary art and his students included some of the greatest Chinese artists of the 20th century, such as Zao Wou-Ki and Chu Teh-Chun.
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Are you the owner of archive material or additional material about Asian painters, or would you like one of your works assessed ? Contact us