Yuan Jai (袁旃)

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Yuan Jai was born in 1941 in Chongqing, Sichuan province, her ancestral home being in Changsha, Hunan province, into a family for whom art and culture were part of daily life, and grew up immersed in Chinese calligraphy and painting. In 1958, she entered the Department of Art at the Taiwan Provincial Normal University (now Department of Fine Arts at National Taiwan Normal University), where she laid a solid foundation of Chinese painting skills by learning from many masters, such as Pu Hsin-yu and Huang Chun-pi. After graduation in 1962, she went to Europe to further her studies, first with a master’s degree in the Department of Archaeology and Fine Art History at the Université catholique de Louvain, then with doctoral studies on preservation and conservation of cultural artifacts at the Institut royal du Patrimoine artistique (IRPA) in Brussels. Yuan returned to Taiwan in 1969 and joined the Department of Antiquities of the National Palace Museum in Taipei. There she established the Office of Technology, the first museum department dedicated to the conservation of cultural relics in Taiwan, passing to the museum the knowledge she had learned abroad and coming in contact with masterpieces of Chinese ancient and modern arts.

Exhibitions & Project

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Yuan Jai: Light Within
5 Feb 2022 – 16 Apr 2022
Mirrored Gardens, Guangzhou

Yuan Jai@Center Pompidou exhibition view12

Yuan Jai
5 Feb – 27 Apr 2020
The Centre Pompidou, Paris


YJ 2011我七十岁了照片与局部

(Left) Yuan Jai at the age of 5 in Chongqing.
(Right) Yuan Jai, Reaching Seventy (detail), 2011, ink and color on silk, 190 × 90 cm.


Light Within (Part 2) —Notes on Recent Work by Yuan Jai

Light Within (Part 1) —Notes on Recent Work by Yuan Jai