The Chinese painter Xu Lei was born in 1963 in Nantong, in Jiangsu province. He studied ink painting at the Nanjing Academy of Fine Arts and has remained faithful to the technique, while taking part in various avant-garde movements during the 1980s.
Both powerful and refined, combining the cosmic and the intimate, the symbolic and the figurative, Xu Lei’s poetic realism reflects a dual ambition: drawing on the traditional manner of the Song and Ming periods, with the meticulous attention to detail of the gongbi style, it also embraces more modern trends like surrealism and conceptual art.
Known throughout the world, Xu Lei’s work has been shown in Europe and the United States as well as in his native China. A resident of Beijing, Xu Lei teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts and is artistic director of the Today Art Museum, an important museum of contemporary art in the Chinese capital.
The drawing he has created for Mouton Rothschild 2008 takes up the theme of the ram, emblem of the illustrious First Growth. Perched on top of a delicately delineated rock, Xu Lei’s ram asserts the role of a great wine as a link between people and cultures, from one hemisphere to the other of “planet wine”.