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Portrait of Ye Xingqian

YE Xingqian was born in 1963 and is a naturalised French painter of Chinese origin. He has been painting since the age of five. In 2008, after years in which his life as an artist was divided between working for food and creating, he devoted all his time to painting and set up his studio in a large room in Montreuil, just outside Paris. In 2018, five watercolours on rice paper entered the permanent collection of the Musée national des arts asiatiques - Guimet. In 2021, a large ink on canvas entere the collection of the Musée Cernuschi. In China, his painting, at first misunderstood, has been regularly exhibited for some years now, and the artist has made a name for himself.

You came to Paris at a very young age and have been living in France for over 40 years. How is your painting representative of contemporary Chinese painting?


If you look at my paintings, you'll see that Chinese ink is always dominant, present in all my compositions. In my work, the line or traces made with brush and ink are immanent.

The controlled accident of ink and water on the support is the keystone of my pictorial work. This heritage of calligraphy is characteristic of Asian painting.


Which artist has made the biggest impact on you?


The vigour, dynamism and freedom of Jackson Pollock's pictorial gestures had a profound effect on me when I first discovered his work. Later, Soulages' infinite black reinforced my love of ink. I did a series called “Hommage à Monet” (Tribute to Monet) - for me he was the master of light and colour. I could go on and on about the painters I love and who have left their mark on me, but that might be too long!

We live in a world where images are omnipresent and dynamic. Do you think that painting is outdated?


Painting will never be surpassed. The human being in front of a masterpiece will always feel emotions. A mobile phone may be obsolete, but a work of art never will be.

La fenêtre, 2015,

encre de Chine,

2m x 1,8m,

musée Cernuschi, CER2021-28

© Paris Musées, musée Cernuschi,

Dist. GrandPalaisRmn / image ville de Paris

La fenêtre.jpg


What is the most important experience you would like to share with the younger generation of fine art students in China and France?


An artist looks at everything at every moment, painting it in his head before painting it on his canvas. You have to look at every single object, whether animate or inanimate, and work, work and work some more.


Interview conducted on 4 May 2024 by Sylvie AUBERT, senior reporter at Investir Le journal des finances


Find out more

Meet Ye Xingqian on Monday 10 June at 6pm for a guided tour of his studio as part of Printemps Asiatique 2024!

Book your place here:


Galerie Ye Xingqian

4 rue Diderot 

93100 Montreuil

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