Image: Yan Pei-Ming
Museum Exhibition

Yan Pei-Ming

1 October 2019—19 January 2020
Musée d’Orsay, Paris

When he arrived in France in 1980, aged twenty, Yan Pei-Ming immediately headed to Paris to discover the works of Gustave Courbet, then exhibited at the Musée du Louvre. Thirty-nine years later, considered one of the most masterful painters of our time, he was inspired by A Burial at Ornans, a masterpiece of realism, to create A Burial in Shanghai, specially designed for the Musée d’Orsay to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Courbet’s birth.

On the occasion of this anniversary, Yan Pei-Ming has realized A Burial in Shanghai (Celestial Mountain, My Mother, The Farewell), a work consisting of three panels, in three different styles, from the most expressionistic to the most minute.

The first piece features mountains painted in an expressionistic style, verging on abstraction: “It is an idealized landscape, heavenly perhaps, where I would hope for my mother to reside.”
The portrait of his late mother is monumental. “My mother was an ordinary person,” he says, “but I painted her on the same scale as icons of political power.”

The third panel, his mother’s funeral is painted on exactly the same scale as A Burial at Ornans (1849-1850): Here, every detail is meticulously depicted. The scene is no longer set in Ornans, but in Shanghai, birthplace of the artist.

Atmospheric image Atmospheric image
Atmospheric image Atmospheric image
Atmospheric image Atmospheric image