Pan Yuliang

(1895 – 1977)

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Pan Yuliang 潘玉良, was a Chinese painter, renowned for her self-portraits and female nudes. She was born in 1895 as Zhang Yuliang in Yangzhou (Jiangsu Province). Her parents died very early so she has been entrusted to an uncle who sold her to a brothel in Wuhu at age 14. There she met Pan Zanhua, a rich official, who married her as his second wife. Encouraged by her husband, Pan studied art in Shanghai. In 1921, she went to Paris and Rome to study oil painting and sculpture. After achieving great success and recognition in Europe as an artist, she came back to China to teach art at China’s famous art schools.

Due to the socio-political situation in China that did not support the idea of a woman, who had been a former prostitute, teaching life drawing, Pan had to leave for France where she stayed until the end of her life in 1977. Pan chose the female nude as the subject of most of her paintings to depict the vitality, healthy beauty and maternity of women. Pan Yuliang is part of Chineses artists, trained in Europe, who have undergone a very strong influence of French art while combining traditional Chinese art style with Western. Her works were exhibited internationally, especially in the United Kingdom, United States, Germany, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and Greece.