Yue Minjun (Chinese artist)



2015-06-26 10:36:36

Yue Minjun (born 1962) is an influential contemporary Chinese painter.

Brief History/biography

Yue Minjun grew up during the height of Mao’s People’s Republic of China and lived through the cultural revolution. He started painting portraits of colleagues while employed deep-sea oil drilling. His style later developed out of portraits of his bohemian artist friends.

He was first inspired to employ his signature laughing self-portrait face by a painting by Geng Jianyi. He is associated with the Cynical Realism movement in China’s contemporary art world.

His self portraits are particularly admired.

His work ‘Execution’ became the most expensive Chinese contemporary work ever sold, fetching £2.9 million ($5.9 million) at Sotheby’s in 2007.


Yue challenges cultural and social conventions by taking political issues and objects and juxtaposing them with radical, abstract ideas.

His ‘Hat’ collection was particularly popular, picturing his own grinning head in a variety of hats, he described himself as ‘a sense of the absurdity of the ideas that govern socio-political protocol surrounding hats’.

Notable sales

  • ‘Execution’ sold for £2.9 million ($5.9 million) at Sotheby’s in 2007
  • ‘Massacre of Chios’ sold for $4.1 million at Sotheby’s in 2007
  • ‘Gweong-Gweong’ sold for $6,963,712 at Christie’s in May 2008
Share on social media
Write a response...

The bookmarklet lets you save things you find to your collections.

Note: Make sure your bookmarks are visible.


Click and drag the Collect It button to your browser's Bookmark Bar.

collect it