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Yue Minjun is a contemporary Chinese artist based in Shanghai, China. He is best known for oil paintings depicting himself in various settings, frozen in laughter. He has also reproduced this signature image in sculpture, watercolor and prints. He is often classified as part of the Chinese "cynical realist" movement in art.
Yue's father worked in the oil fields of northeast China, and he himself worked in China's oil industry, before beginning studies in art in 1983. In 1989, he was inspired by a painting by Geng Jianyi in the "China / Avant Garde" show in Beijing, which depicted Geng's own laughing face. Disillusioned with politics by the Tiananmen Square uprising of the same year, he moved to an artist's colony outside Beijing in 1990. His signature style developed out of portraits of his bohemian friends from the artists village, and soon became a popular investment for foreigners looking to capitalize on China's opening to the west.
He has shown work internationally in many exhibitions including the 5th Shanghai Biennale, Mahjon at Kunstmuseum Bern and Xianfeng! at Museum Beelden aan Zee in the Netherlands. He is represented by Art Beatus in Vancouver and Chinese Contemporary in Beijing and London. His piece 'Execution' became the most expensive work ever by a Chinese contemporary artist, when sold in 2007 for £2.9 million pounds (US $5.9 million) at London's Sotheby's, a week after his painting 'Massacre of Chios' sold at the Hong Kong Sotheby's for nearly $4.1 million.
Yue Minjun’s first museum show in the U.S. opened at the Queens Museum of Art on October 14th, 2007. Yue Minjun and the Symbolic Smile includes bronze and polychrome sculptures, paintings and drawings and will be on view through January 6, 2008.
Biographical information from Wikipedia