Shen Jiawei (b. 1948), painter, was born in China, where he grew up during the Cultural Revolution and began to gain recognition as an artist in the mid-1970s. Largely self-taught at first, when he was able to undertake formal art training in Beijing he was significantly influenced by his teacher Shangyi, China’s most famous portraitist. He came to specialise in history paintings, and saw his works hung in top public collections in Beijing before moving to Australia in 1989. Beginning again as a pavement portraitist at Darling Harbour, he built a full-time painting practice. Shen’s painting of Tom Hughes was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in 2005 and he was commissioned to paint Crown Princess Mary of Denmark for the Gallery the same year. His commissioned portrait of the Gallery’s Founding Patron, L Gordon Darling AC CMG, hangs in the Gordon Darling Hall.
Greg Weight’s photograph of Shen with his wife Lan, daughter Xini and dog Billy was taken in the artist’s studio in Bundeena, New South Wales. Behind Shen is a typically playful self-portrait, in which he appears as an Imperial court painter of yesteryear.
Accession number: 2012.111
More about the artist and subject
Shen Jiawei was born in China. During the Cultural Revolution he laboured in the Great Northern Wilderness, but even as he worked there, he gained recognition as an artist.
Magazine article, Portrait 23
Portrait of a patron
A new painting by Jiawei Shen captures the vision and resolve of the Gallery's founder, L. Gordon Darling AC CMG.
Magazine article, Portrait 18
The full-length portrait of HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark by artist Jiawei Shen, has become a destination piece for visitors.
Magazine article, Portrait 14
101 photographic portraits
Pat Corrigan's generous gift of 100 photographic portraits by Greg Weight.
Permanent collection catalogue
On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.