1659 | CHEN YIFEI Painted in 1990 VENETIAN CANAL


Author: CHEN YIFEI 陈逸飞

Size: 76.2×111.76cm

Signed and dated: Painted in 1990


Final Price: unsold

2007 Memorial Exhibition: A Tribute to Chen Yifei 1946-2005 / P23 / Marlborough Gallery
2009 Chen Yifei: Paintings and Works on Paper / P3 / Marlborough Fine Art
signed in pinyin
2007 Memorial Exhibition: A Tribute to Chen Yifei 1946-2005, Marlborough Gallery, New York

I see myself as the bridge between traditional and modern, east and west, America and China.
- Chen Yifei

In 1989, Chen Yifei visited Venice the city of Venice in Italy, and created a series of landscape paintings with Venice as the theme, such as the Grand Canal of Venice and the Gas Lamp Beside the Canal, Venice in 1990. These works present the unique urban landscape and crisscross waterways of Venice from the perspective of Chen Yifei, and integrate realism and romanticism. In the transformation of his oil painting style and the evolution of his art language are this series of representative works in the transitional period.
In the 1970s, Chen Yifei advocated the mainstream oil painting language form in China, namely the Soviet realistic style. In the 1980s, he went to the United States for further study and went on an visit of art to Europe. He not only read a large number of original European paintings, but also found new creative inspiration in the exotic landscape of Europe. This experience led to a great change in theme and style of his oil painting creation, from thematic painting of expressing ideological connotation in the early stage to landscape painting and figure painting of pursuing sentiment and poetic quality, and from the rigorous and heroic Soviet style realistic art to the delicate and elegant European classical realistic art. From Ode to the Yellow River in the 1970s to Grand Canal of Venice in the 1990s, we can observe the trace of change in Chen Yifei’s painting style.
Grand Canal of Venice is a freehand and exquisite landscape painting created in 1990, presenting a quiet corner inadvertently captured from the city. It has the artistic situation of “ a household adjacent to a small bridge and flowing water” in Chinese painting. The composition of the picture is simple and loose. The watercourse and the cruise ship in the foreground, the house in the medium shot and the arch bridge in the distant view create an open space, where the change of light causes the reflection on the water and the colors. All kinds of objects are simplified into geometric blocks. Bright color blocks and thick shadows form the contrast between red and black, as well as bright and dark in the painting. The tranquil and restrained realism in the painting, as well as the interest in form and composition, in some ways reminds us of the “Pontoise” series of Pissarro. Different from Impressionism, Chen Yifei creates a kind of hazy and ambiguous visual effect for the scenery in his heart, and renders a quiet and romantic atmosphere, which makes the scenery in the painting seem to swing between reality and dream.