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.
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
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,
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
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
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.