Sanyu was a Chinese-French artist that created prints, drawings, and paintings. His work fused the histories of European still-life and figurative painting with the traditions of Chinese calligraphy. Considered a master of form and color, he was sometimes referred to as “the Chinese Matisse.”
Born Chang Yu on October 14, 1901 in Nanchong, China, he was tutored in calligraphy and painting from a young age. In 1921, he travelled to Paris to study at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts and the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. He was the first Chinese artist presented at the Salon des Tuileries in 1930 and the Salon des Indépendants in 1931. Today, a large quantity of his work can be found in the collection of the National Museum of History in Taiwan. In 2019, Sanyu’s Nu sold for a record US$25.2 million, setting a new benchmark for the artist.