The Resource The painter from Shanghai, Jennifer Cody Epstein

The painter from Shanghai, Jennifer Cody Epstein

Label
The painter from Shanghai
Title
The painter from Shanghai
Statement of responsibility
Jennifer Cody Epstein
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Review
  • This fictionalized life of Chinese artist Pan Yuliang (1899—1977) illustrates just how political art can be. Orphaned as a child, Yuliang was sold into prostitution to "The Hall of Eternal Splendor" at the age of 14 and rescued three years later by customs inspector Pan Zanhua, who bought her freedom, made her his concubine and second wife, and supported her study of art. One of few women then admitted to the Shanghai Art Academy, Yuliang went on to study in Europe and win scholarships and awards. Yet her past and her paintings of nudes made her too provocative for her own country, which marked her as depraved even before the Cultural Revolution, causing her to leave her husband and spend the last half of her life in France. Epstein captures the creative process in her vivid portrayal of Yuliang, from her days at the Hall (where "top girl" Jinling was her mentor and soul sister) to her recognition as the first female Chinese artist to paint in the Western tradition. A luminous rendering of a woman whose work was her life. -- Leber, Michele (Reviewed 02-01-2008) (Booklist, vol 104, number 11, p28)
  • /* Starred Review */ Epstein’s sweeping debut novel, set in early 20th-century China, fictionalizes the life of Chinese painter Pan Yuliang. Born Xiuquing, she is orphaned at a young age and later sold into prostitution by her uncle, who needs the money to support his opium habit. Renamed Yuliang, she becomes the brothel’s top girl and soon snags the attention of customs inspector Pan Zanhua, who makes her his concubine. Zanhua sets her up in Shanghai, where she enrolls in the Shanghai Art Academy and early on struggles with life study, unable to separate the nude’s monetary value from its value in the “currency of beauty.” She eventually succeeds, winning a scholarship to study in Europe. But when she returns to China, itself inching toward revolution, the conservative establishment is critical of Yuliang, balking as she adopts Western-style dress and becomes known for her nudes (one newspaper deems her work pornography). Simmering resentments hit a flashpoint at a disastrous Shanghai retrospective exhibit, and the fallout nearly destroys Yuliang’s artistic ambition. Convincing historic detail is woven throughout and nicely captures the plight of women in the era. Epstein’s take on Yuliang’s life is captivating to the last line. (Mar.) --Staff (Reviewed November 26, 2007) (Publishers Weekly, vol 254, issue 47, p24)
  • /* Starred Review */ Journalist Epstein's first novel showcases two turbulent decades in Chinese history (1913–37) as experienced by prostitute-turned-painter Pan Yuliang. This fictionalized account of real-life artist Madame Pan reveals the woman who created some of China's most provocative post-impressionist paintings. Sold into slavery by her opium-addicted uncle, Yuliang survives life in a brothel, rises from maid to top girl, and eventually achieves quasirespectability by becoming a concubine (second wife) to an honorable civil servant, Pan Zanhua. He teaches her to read and write and helps her gain admission to the Shanghai Arts Academy. Throughout her career, Yuliang is criticized for painting nude self-portraits that reflect a Western sensibility. Her modern artistic and political convictions take a toll on her husband's career, and he allows her to follow her own destiny and supports her when she leaves China to study first in Paris and later in Rome. When Yuliang returns to China, she finds her country torn by political factions. Fans of Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha and Lisa See's Snow Flower and the Secret Fan will enjoy this engrossing story of a woman forced to choose between following her heart and pursuing her art. Recommended for public libraries.—Loralyn Whitney, Edinboro Univ. of Pennsylvania Lib. --Loralyn Whitney (Reviewed February 1, 2008) (Library Journal, vol 133, issue 2, p60)
  • Fictional portrait of Pan Yuliang, a real-life 20th-century Chinese prostitute turned successful artist.In the mold of Memoirs of a Geisha, Epstein's debut devotes itself to the exotic life of a woman whose early years were spent in the service of men. Orphaned Yuliang is 14 in 1913 when her opium-addicted uncle sells her into a brothel. Beatings are routine, and escapees are caught and murdered. Having learned to please clients, Yuliang rises to "top girl" and has the good fortune to meet a modern-thinking customs inspector, Pan Zanhua, who buys her freedom, "marries" her (he already has a wife and child) and moves her to Shanghai. There she develops an interest in drawing and becomes one of very few women admitted to the Art Academy. Epstein touches on the shifting political background as Yuliang travels to France and Rome and develops her controversial work, which sometimes uses her own naked body as subject matter. Later she returns to Shanghai and Nanjing where, in 1936, an exhibition of her "Western-style" art is vandalized. In 1937 she abandons Zanhua and leaves once more for France, as war with Japan looms. She dies in 1977, only "modestly successful in the commercial sense," but with awards to her name and a body of some 4,000 works of art.The enlivening spark flickers only intermittently in this professional account of an unusual life. (Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2007)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
234953
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Epstein, Jennifer Cody
Dewey number
813/.6
Index
no index present
Literary form
novels
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Pan, Yuliang
  • Women artists
  • Artists
  • Interpersonal relations
  • China
Target audience
adult
Label
The painter from Shanghai, Jennifer Cody Epstein
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Note
"A novel"--Cover
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
25 cm
Extent
416 pages
Isbn
9780393065282
Lccn
2007041805
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other control number
9780393065282
Label
The painter from Shanghai, Jennifer Cody Epstein
Publication
Copyright
Note
"A novel"--Cover
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
25 cm
Extent
416 pages
Isbn
9780393065282
Lccn
2007041805
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other control number
9780393065282

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