He Jiaying is a contemporary Chinese painter.  Born in Tianjin in 1957, he is famous for his masterful figures painted with classical Chinese brush painting.  He Jiaying’s favorite subjects tend to be beautiful women lost in contemplation beneath trees or bamboo.  The models in his paintings are either attired in fluid dresses or, more often, in nothing at all. So deft is his style that he miraculously combines European-style hyper realistic portraiture with ancient Chinese style brushwork (which is famed for being free and spontaneous).  Because his paintings are masterpieces in two opposite styles, He Jiaying is widely known  both in China and abroad.

 

Painting by He Jiaying

Painting by He Jiaying

Here a wistful beauty walks pensively beneath autumn birch trees.  Despite the adroit brushstrokes, the woman’s figure possesses perfect verisimilitude–and the trunks of the trees are likewise simultaneously simple yet perfectly lifelike.  Despite the realism, the composition is anything but Western: the off-center figure, the abstract leaf-litter, and the empty background are all hallmarks of classical Chinese painting.