Author: YANG FEIYUN 杨飞云

Size: 100×80cm

Signed and dated: Painted in 1989


Final Price: unsold

2011 China Guardian Twenty Years Fine Record: Oil Painting, Sculpture and Installation / P287 / The Forbidden City Publishing House
signed in Chinese and dated 1989.8
The world of contemporary art is continually diversifying as new artforms emerge. Yang Feiyun, however, has always viewed classical realism as the underlying essence of oil painting. As he sees it, classic works of art throughout history have all embodied the core values of authenticity, kind intentions, and beauty. Therefore, in his creations, Yang has remained faithful to these values — in his own words, “Inauthentic things cannot move people; things that are not well-intentioned have no value; and things that aren’t beautiful aren’t art.”
In terms of artistic style, Yang’s oil paintings embody classical ideals; they are both realistic and highly idealistic. His works convey sincere emotions and feature delicate brushwork. They are mostly female portraits or portrayals of the female form that emphasize the classical beauty of the subject. As a result, Yang’s female subjects embody a soft tranquility and reserved nature that beguile the beholder. Even more notably, Yang does not view oil painting as a uniquely Western art form — rather, he imbues this medium with Chinese aesthetics and philosophy. His works have a solemn color scheme and a heightened sense of beauty that entices viewers to linger over every detail. One could say that Yang Feiyun’s portraits vividly represent two kinds of beauty: the first being an external beauty based on form, color, and composition and the other being an internal beauty found in the emotions and spirit of the subject, which he evokes using a range of expressive techniques. In order to convey this second kind of beauty, the artist needs to be profoundly in touch with both his own emotions and those of the subject. Only when a balance is achieved between internal and external can the work move those who view it.
The subject of Fanfan in Her Blue Batik Dress is Yang’s most well-known muse: his wife Dong Fanfan, whom he met in 1976. At the time, Fanfan had sought out Yang Feiyun to serve as her painting mentor; however, Yang was soon captivated by his student’s unique grace. This special temperament stimulated Yang’s desire to create, inspiring a series of exquisite portraits with Fanfan as a subject. Through his muse, Yang powerfully evoked the reserved, solemn, and graceful beauty of Eastern women. In this way, Fanfan has become an icon of contemporary Chinese realism over time. Fanfan in Her Blue Batik Dress was one of the first portraits of Fanfan that Yang created after the two married in 1986. On a monochromatic background, Yang portrays his subject in intricate detail using a quintessentially classical color scheme composed of gentle contrasts between warm and cool hues. The work is precise in its composition and proportions and features vivid colors. However, the subject’s face is not excessively embellished — the artist has deftly captured her natural, inadvertent beauty. Her gaze is somewhat unfocused, almost as though she is not looking directly at the artist but is rather lost in her own world. Yang Feiyun’s ability to perfectly convey Fanfan’s state of mind can be attributed to the profound sentiments and tacit understanding between the two. His portraits often depict the people closest to him, and his works carry on the traditions of classical Western realism from a distinctly Chinese perspective, creating a new and highly atmospheric style.