Chinese painter Mao Yan’s American debut

The contemporary art world tends to favour Chinese artists who use a blatantly “Chinese iconography”. Defying this aesthetic, portrait artist Mao Yan’s work seems to borrow much from the traditional European sensibility. With close visual ties to Rembrandt, Delacroix, and Goya, Mao’s haunting portraits succinctly captures the internal psychology of his subjects. This spring, a selection of such works is on show at Pace New York, marking the artist’s US debut.

Prominently featured in Mao’s exhibition are six recent portraits of Thomas Rohdewald, an émigré to China who has appeared in the artist’s work over a hundred times. His wistful portrayals of men stand in sharp contrast to his direct, sensual renderings of women, a topic discussed in detail in the accompanying catalogue essay by critic and scholar Donald Kuspit.


Mao Yan, Leah (2014)


Mao Yan, Xiao Dai (2013-14)


Mao Yan, Small Portrait of Thomas No. 4 (2014)

 by Louise Lui 

The exhibition is on until April 4, 2015 at Pace
524 West 25th Street
New York, NY 10001

All images © Mao Yan courtesy Pace Gallery
Photo courtesy Pace Beijing

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