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Mao Yan, Sitting Y, 2016, Oil on canvas, 110 cm × 75 cm (43-5/16" × 29-1/2") © Mao Yan

Mao Yan

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b. 1968, Hunan Province, China

Mao Yan is considered one of China’s premiere contemporary artists.

He began studying painting at an early age, mastering advanced techniques by the time he was a teenager. In 1991, after graduating from the Oil Painting Department at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, Mao Yan began teaching at Nanjing University of the Arts, where he began to delve into portraiture. In his article Explorations in Realism, renowned art critic Li Xianting named Mao Yan as the representative of Chinese Neo-Realism, stating that his works depict the "portraits of a generation whose emotions are gradually disappearing." Mao’s portraits eschew specific cultural or temporal signifiers, and his reduced palette of cool gray and blue tones is used as a compositional device, and which he deems a subject of the work in itself.

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Mao Yan, Woman with a Mirror, 2017-2018, Oil on canvas, 130 cm × 90 cm (51-3/16" × 35-7/16") © Mao Yan

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Mao Yan, Young Man Wearing a Hat, 2017, Oil on canvas, 150 cm × 100 cm (59-1/16" × 39-3/8") © Mao Yan