Execution (painting)

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Chineseart Executionpainting.jpg
Artist Yue Minjun
Year 1995
Type Oil painting
Dimensions 150 cm × 300[1] cm (59.1 in × 118.1 in)

Execution is a Chinese art painting by Beijing artist Yue Minjun. The piece was inspired by the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, although the artist stated through translation that the art should not be viewed as depicting what happened at Tiananmen Square.[2] In 2007 it became the most expensive work sold by a Chinese contemporary artist.[3]


Yue Minjun painted the oil painting in 1995 in a month. He sold the painting to Hong Kong art dealer Manfred Schoeni for $5,000.[2]

Trevor Simon, investment banker, stumbled across the painting in 1996 in the back of a Hong Kong gallery. He convinced Schoeni to sell the piece for HK $250,000 / US $32,200. The painting was then shipped from Hong Kong to London, where Simon stored it in a warehouse. Under the terms, the painting was to remain out of sight for 5 years in a warehouse.[1]

As of 2007, Execution would become the most expensive work of Chinese contemporary art sold for British pound £2.9 million / US $5.9 million / Euro €4.2 million at London's Sotheby's.[2] The art piece has been billed by Sotheby's as "Among the most historically important paintings of the Chinese avant-garde ever to appear at auction."[2] Simon has called Yue a brave man for painting something as politically dangerous as this.[1]

Artist's comments[edit]

The artist, Yue, disagrees with the notion that his paintings are a veiled criticism of his government or of Chinese society, and he does not believe his work will bring him trouble.[2]

I want the audience not to think of one thing or one place or one event. The whole world's the background. As I said, the viewer should not link this painting to Tiananmen. But Tiananmen is the catalyst for conceiving of this painting.[2]


The painting has been compared to The Third of May 1808 and The Execution of the Emperor Maximilien of Mexico.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c CNN Edition Oct 12 2007 world news. Painting's owner 'un-Executed'. Retrieved 10-14-2007.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g CNN Edition Oct 11 2007 world news. 'Execution' artist rejects Tiananmen label. Retrieved 10-14-2007.
  3. ^ Thestaronline.com Archived 2008-09-22 at the Wayback Machine. Thestar Oct 13, 2007. Chinese painting sets sales record at London auction. Retrieved Oct 14, 2007.