Lu Jian Jun
In Lu Jian Jun, China has produced an artist of imagination, a man with a distinctive and unquestionable mastery of his materials and a palpable insight into the human condition. Lu was born in 1960 in mainland China and from an early age demonstrated an uncanny ability to draw and paint. This eventually led to a degree at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, and finally a position as a professor at Shandong Academy of Painting. The level of technical training in traditional media and materials he received in China would have been virtually inaccessible (or simply impossible) in the West. The discipline, focus and intensity of such training is often compared to late 19th century Russian academicism. Professor Lu, for example, has an impressive familiarity with Russian academic figures such as Ilya Repin and his contemporaries.
Russian cultural sources including Nabokov's Lolita or Tolstoy's Anna Karenina inform paintings such as XIAO ER of XIAN, an enigmatic meditation on innocence, love and sincerity, evoking a sentiment similar to these Russian literary giants. Still, the ethnicity of his models, real or imagined, as well as the textiles and props remain somehow incontrovertibly Chinese.
In our observation, Dante Gabriel Rosetti and the pre-Raphaelite movement have influenced Lu most obviously in their brilliant use of imagery as allegory. Yet, while Rossetti filled his canvas with extraordinary and other worldly devises, Lu depicts objects of the common place which show signs of much use, family heirlooms, large jewelry in simple shapes, like the building blocks of a sculptor's maquette.
The American nineteenth century artists James MacNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent also share a kinship with Lu. Certainly the women, such as the reclining figure in ANTIQUE DRESSING TABLE, reveal a sense of contemplation both relaxed and formal. Bold and provocative in her positioning JAPANESE PRINCESS is as timeless as Sargent's Madame X. Lu surpasses past masters with his great sensitivity in the placement and orientation of hands, feet and faces as echoed in paintings like CHINA QUEEN. This composition's highly textural use of palette knives makes the outskirts of this large canvas an abstract masterpiece, an achievement not dissimilar to Whistler's large Nocturnes or his At the Piano. The depth and complexity of emotion in these uncluttered masterpieces of the past and present are tremendously inviting to the imagination.
Some luck and Weinstein's strong reputation in China brought Lu to the gallery. He had been told of our success with his fellow countryman, the painter Guan Ze Ju and wondered if our owner, Rowland Weinstein, would have interest in his work. Upon seeing Lu's first monograph, a book written only in Chinese, Rowland had a strong emotional response. But photography of paintings can be misleading. In fact, Rowland cautioned us that "Nothing can really be as good as the pictures in this book." He then visited the home of Professor Lu's sister and brother-in-law to view their private collection. Bedazzled by the power and mystery in Lu's work, Rowland made the immediate decision to acquire all future works by the artist.
Professor Lu's paintings have been exhibited and awarded prizes in numerous Chinese and foreign art shows (France, Germany, Japan, etc.) and have found their way simply by word of mouth into some of America's most significant private collections. Reproductions of his artwork have been published in newspapers and periodicals such as Chinese Oil Painting, Fine Arts, People's Daily, China Daily, Beijing Evening News, American Overseas Chinese Daily, Art News, and many others.
We are thrilled and honored that Lu Jian Jun has chosen us as his exclusive gallery. We look forward to this young artist's blossoming talent, as he continues to refine still further what are already singular paintings, unmistakable masterpieces that stand alone in today's world of representational art.