Considered shameless by some and genuine by others, Zhu had painted human’s basic needs, sex in particular, for more than two decades. He is most famous for portraying nude modern beauties with rough – sometimes exaggerated – strokes of ink.
In his works woman is the main theme which usually presents the charming and lazy beauties. These paintings reveal not only popular culture but also start from deeply meaningful aspects. Because of his successful composition in the works, the ladies under Zhu’s brush look both Oriental and Western. A representative of the “New Literati Painting” movement, he stripped the hypocrisy and pretense of literati painting traditions and enlivened the art school with a playful and down-to-earth approach.
When it comes to Zhu’s educational background, he graduated from Nanjing Art Institute and began to teach in the same institution. In years 1986/1987 he’s been involved in illustrating children’s books.
First beginning to paint women in the 1980’s, Zhu titled his series of female-themed works Painting of the Beauty. In 1987, another set of paintings, The Golden Lotus, named after the eponymous Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) erotic novel, appeared at an exhibition of young artists in Hubei Province. Bluntly depicting the nudity and sex scenes in the novel, this set of paintings caused a huge stir throughout society.
Despite being beset on all sides by controversy, Zhu’s fame quickly spread across the country. Later in life Zhu revealed that he painted these paintings purely for fun and had never thought about what it would mean for society or traditional Chinese art.
Zhu was awarded silver medal of the 6th Art Exhibition of China. Furthermore, he designed animations for Shanghai Animation Film Studio and China Central Television (CCTV). Zhu Xinjian’s exhibitions took place in China, Belgium and Paris. His paintings were collected by National Art Museum of China, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Bibliothèque nationale de France, and école nationale supérieure des Beaux-arts de Paris. Numerous works by the artist have been sold at auction, including ’11 works: P11 works: “Lum Blossom in Golden Vase” sold at Beijing Huachen Auctions “Modern & Contemporary Chinese Art” in 2014 for $64,570.
Zhu died of lung cancer earlier this year (2014), and two after Zhu’s first major solo exhibition was opened at the Today Art Museum, displaying his some 200 Chinese paintings, calligraphy scrolls, manuscripts and sketches.