Yuan Jai: Mirage, 1990s, coloured ink on silk 83×177 cm (32 1/4 x 69 1/4 in)

Yuan Jai 袁旃

About the Artist

Yuan Jai 袁旃 (b 1941 Chongqing, Sichuan Province) studied Chinese painting at the National Taiwan Normal University and received her MA and doctorate in Belgium from the Catholic University of Leuven in 1966. In 1968 she received her doctorate from the Royal Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Artefacts. 

She returned to Taiwan and worked in conservation of cultural artefacts for over thirty years at the National Palace Museum in Taipei. She did not paint professionally in the manner we know today until 1987 when she was in her forties. 

Yuan Jai’s exposure and interest in Art Deco, Art Nouveau and Surrealism are evident in her work as much as Chinese classical landscapes and ancient arts which surrounded her during her days at the Palace Museum. Her daily life experiences are also woven into her colourful work. 

Tradition is always her foundation even if she uses contemporary colours made out of mineral pigments (malachite for green and lapis for blue) in her signature “blue and green style” integrated with other bright colours to create geometric and vibrant images. 

Many of Yuan Jai’s work like this one owned by The Juanita Collection are on silk and it is uncanny that her name literally means « silken banner » This work is one of her most recognisable ones and features a classical Chinese landscape updated in her  iconic geometric hand in signature blue and green. 

Yuan Jai’s recent solo exhibitions include Yuan Jai, Center Pompidou, Paris, 2020 and A Visionary Mind: The Art of Yuan Jai in a Quarter-Century, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Kaohsiung, 2012. She also recently participated in Ink art exhibitions at M+, West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong, 2017. In the last 10 years she has shown at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts in Taichung, The National Art Museum of China in Beijing, the China Art Museum in Shanghai and participated in the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011. 

Yuan Jai: Mirage, 1990s, coloured ink on silk 83×177 cm (32 1/4 x 69 1/4 in)