Liu Ye, a Chinese Artist Whose Paintings of Children Reference Western Art History, Will Now Be Represented by David Zwirner

The gallery will show the painter's work at Art Basel Hong Kong later this month and in a 2020 solo show in New York.

Liu Ye. Image courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery.

David Zwirner gallery is now representing Liu Ye, the Chinese artist whose paintings depicting young children, the Dutch cartoon character Miffy, and fairy tales have been widely exhibited in Asia.

The gallery will show his work at this month’s edition of Art Basel Hong Kong, as well as in a solo show in New York in 2020.

“Liu’s work has seldom been shown in the United States—we are so excited to share his distinct vision with a broader audience,” said David Zwirner in a statement.

A number of blue-chip Western galleries, including Gladstone, Gagosian, and White Cube, have been adding Asian artists to their rosters as they expand their presence in Asia. Liu is the first Chinese-born artist that Zwirner has taken on since the gallery opened a Hong Kong space in 2015. (Before that the represented the Shanghai-born, Paris-based artist Yan Pei Ming.)

Liu studied mural painting at the Central Academy of Fine Arts as well as industrial design at Beijing’s School of Arts & Crafts. He later studied at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin and went on to spend six years in Europe, including a six-month residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam.

Liu Ye, <i>Mondrian in the Morning</i> (2000). Image courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner Gallery.

Liu Ye, Mondrian in the Morning (2000). Image courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner Gallery.

The influence of Western art and architecture can be felt in Liu’s work, as traces of Jan van Eyck, Vermeer, Gerrit Rietveld, Paul Klee, and Piet Mondrian appear alongside visual references to Chinese traditions.

Liu’s auction record is $5.5 million, according to the artnet Price Database, set at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 2013 for Sword (2001-02), a large oil painting of two young girls holding swords. The trees and brilliant red background are reminiscent of Song dynasty landscape paintings.

“Liu’s richly layered paintings,” Zwirner said in the statement, “are infused with an internal logic based on proportion and measure, harmony, and balance.”

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