Back to All Events

The Yunnan School of Painting


Parrish Gallery+Founders Lobby+Grand Lobby


This exhibit is generously on loan from the Royal Arts Gallery in McMinnville, OR


The majority of the works on view are paintings by artists who are from the “Yunnan School” of painting.

Since the late 1980’s the term “Yunnan School” has been applied more broadly, to encompass, not only all of the artistic production coming from this region, but also the very distinctive style and techniques of a small group of highly respected, enormously talented, avant-garde artists associated with this province and its schools, who introduced a Renaissance in Chinese art.

Just south of Tibet, Yunnan is bordered by Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam allows for 28 ethnic minorities living and preserving the uniqueness and diversity of their language, colorful costumes, jewelry, their folk traditions and festivals.

After the Communist victory in 1949, new laws demanded the abandonment of thousands of years of traditional, classical Chinese art forms in favor of rigid, hard line SOcialist Realist propaganda artwork. All artwork that came before 1949 was condemned as anti-revolutionary and bourgeois and was attached at every level.

The ati-intellectual fury that ensued, reached its height during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) when non-conforming artists were regularly ridiculed, beaten, tortured imprisoned and sometimes even killed for their independent views.

Some of the victims of this horror were banished to the extreme southwest province of Yunnan, some fled there.

To the extraordinary mix of people, cultures, climate, landscape, etc. in Yunnan, now were added sophisticated, university educated artists, authors and New Age thinkers who rather than being oppressed by their exile, flourished by being far away from the scrutiny and forced conformity of Beijing.

When Mao Zedong died in 1976, the oppression of artists and intellectuals slowly started being lifted. The native artists, the forced exiles and the voluntary exiles of Yunnan started to plant seeds for their own Cultural REvolution. A movement that took the best elements of the ancient art of the Buddhist caves, blended it with the rich folk art of the region, incorporated the Western art concepts of Picasso, Miro, Modigliani and Rivera and the natural beauty of the magnificent jungles and mountains of Yunnan and combined them to create a totally new and unique art form, so beautiful and so finely executed that it has taken the art world by storm.

Lu Hong cautiously credits the following five artists as being the founder and initiators of this brilliant art movement, based, in part, on the dates of their emigration from China to the United States: Ting Shao Kuang (1980), Jiang Tiefeng (1985), Zhou Lin (1987) and He Deguang (1987). Each of these artists shares similar cultural roots, but each has branched out in different directions to create their own unique masterpieces.

Exhibition Reception: April 5th, 5:00-8:00pm

GALLERY SEASON SPONSOR: ART ELEMENTS GALLERY