Private Collection, USA (acquired directly from the artist in the 1950s)
Thence as a gift to the present owner
The recently rediscovered, museum-quality painting The Last Supper completed in the early 1930s, by expatriate Chinese painter Zhu Yuanzhi, also known as Yun Gee (1906-1963) is from the artist's celebrated Diamondism series. The Last Supper has been mysteriously missing from the market since it has been hidden from public view for over half a century. The oil on silk (mounted on board) was originally commissioned by St. Peter's Lutheran Church in the Bronx, New York, when Yun was travelling and living between Paris and New York. Several well-documented studies and sketches have emerged; but the completed painting had been believed by many to be lost. In fact, The Last Supper has resided in a private collection for nearly 50 years.
Born in Guangdong province in China in 1906, Yun immigrated to San Francisco at age 15. He moved to Paris in 1927, travelled extensively throughout Europe, and moved to New York City in the 1930s. This iconic painting, measuring 73 x 91 cm. (28 ¾ x 36 in.) is a prime example of Yun's willingness to explore not only new cultures and environments, but it also demonstrates the daring and novel manner in which Yun employs this modern technique along with the infusion of multiple facets of his own multicultural background. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this painting is the Chinese landscape painting in the background, behind Jesus and his disciples, featuring bamboos rendered in a Chinese manner. The inclusion of that landscape in a basically modern composition was a simple statement of who he was: modernist, Christian, and Chinese as well as immersed in the art of many traditions. The Last Supper was a daring attempt to portray a modern version of a traditional subject – an amazing achievement for a young painter. The re-emergence of this outstanding work on the market represents a historic event in the exhibition of Yun Gee's art and a milestone for the scholarship of his work.
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