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Noted artist Chen Yifei dies at 59
By Cao Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-11 06:10

SHANGHAI: The famous Chinese film director, painter and fashion designer Chen Yifei died of gastrorrhagia at 8:44 am yesterday in Shanghai's Huashan Hospital at the age of 59.

Artist Chen Yifei died of gastrorrhagia in Shanghai's Huashan Hospital at the age of 59 on April 10, 2005. This photo was taken on August 23, 2001. [newsphoto]
Chen was admitted to the hospital last Wednesday from Fuyang, Zhejiang Province, where he was filming a new movie "The Barber," the Nanjing Morning Post reported.

Close friends said Chen looked alright on Saturday and was preparing a statement to inform local media he was going to be fine.

It was predicted Chen's son, Chen Ling, will continue his father's business.

Funeral dates are due to be announced soon.

Doctors at the hospital said exhaustion led to his illness.

Wang Yajie, an actress from "The Barber," said Chen would often work for days without a break.

And last month, he was sent to hospital for the same illness but immediately returned to work upon his release two days later.

All work on the movie has been suspended.

Chen Yifei, recognized as one of the most famous oil painters in the country and whose works were among the earliest of their type to be exhibited and sold in Western countries, was born in 1946 in Ningbo, Zhejiang.

In 1965, he graduated from the Shanghai Art Training School and began focusing on oil painting.

In 1981, he went to study in the United States, and was soon accepted into local arts circles.

Chen's works have been displayed in countless galleries and museums in the United States, Britain, France and Japan.

In 1985, one of his pieces "Bridge" was used by the United Nations. And another painting "Shuangqiao" was given to Deng Xiaoping as a gift by Armand Hammer, chairman of the Occidental Petroleum Corporation of the United States.

In past years, Chen witnessed many of his works record high prices at Christie's, Sotheby's and other auctions in New York and Hong Kong.

The painter-turned-film director once held the record of the highest auction price for a contemporary Chinese painter. One of his masterpieces featuring scenery in East China's Jiangxi Province was sold for more than HK$1.3 million (US$162,000) at a Hong Kong auction in 1991.

Chen gave much of the money earned from the sale of his paintings to Project Hope, a charity foundation that benefits the underprivileged, and set up an arts foundation.

Chen started making movies in 1993, and in 1995, his movie "A Date at Dusk" was entered at the Festival De Cannes.

In 1999, he launched a clothing line named Leyefe. And a year later, set up two homeware outlets in Shanghai, called Leyefe Home. All the while, he acted as the agent of several successful Chinese models.

He was also invited to become the art designer for China's premier fashion magazine Yifei Vision sponsored by China Youth Magazine under the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China.

(China Daily 04/11/2005 page2)

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