Chen Yifei, one of China's most successful contemporary moviemakers and artists, died Sunday from severe intestinal bleeding, a business associate said. He was 59.
Chen was admitted to Shanghai's Huashan Hospital on April 6 with stomach pains, said Dennis Wang, an executive with Beijing-based Huayi Brothers and Taihe Film Investment Co.
Before turning to film in the early 1990s, Chen was widely acclaimed for his rich oil portrayals of daily life in a style he called romantic realism.
He later found success in New York, and, in 1992, Christie's sold his "Lingering Melodies From the Xunyang River" for $176,282, then a world record price for a Chinese oil painting at auction.
Returning to Shanghai, he opened a trendy restaurant and branched into businesses ranging from magazines and a clothing line to film production and a modeling agency.
Chen was directing "Hairdresser" when he became ill, Wang said. Its producers have said they will find a replacement to complete the project, about a tragic love story set in 1920s China.