''The Painter from Shanghai,'' published in 2008, is Jennifer Cody Epstein's debut novel. It is a fictionalized biography of the RealLife Chinese painter Pan Yuliang. Orphaned at a young age, she was taken in by her uncle who, in order to sustain his opium habit, sold her into prostitution at age 13.

After a a few years as a teenage prostitute, she was rescued from a predictably grim fate by a city official named Pan Zanhua who bought her from her madam and took her up as a concubine. She signed up for arts classes in UsefulNotes/{{Shanghai}}, and eventually developed enough talent to start out as a painter. However, she courted scandal by painting nudes, something even more offensive in interwar China than in Europe; with nobody volunteering to model for her, she would sneak in the public baths to draw sketches of women bathers, and eventually settled for nude self portraits.

She won a coveted prize that enabled her to study further in [[GayParee Paris,]] then Rome, and she won several awards in both cities. Returning to UsefulNotes/{{China}} after several years, she found herself targeted by the Blue Shirts, a right wing paramilitary organization with ties to the Nationalist regime. She left again for good just before the beginning of the UsefulNotes/SecondSinoJapaneseWar and lived out her days in UsefulNotes/{{France}}.

!! Contains examples of:

* ArrangedMarriage: Pan Zanhua's first marriage was arranged by his family, hence his taking up Yuliang as his concubine.
* BandOfBrothels: Yuliang spends her teenage years as a brothel whore.
* BittersweetEnding
* BreakTheCutie
* GoodGirlsAvoidAbortion: Averted. Yuliang has one, arranged by her husband.
* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: Jinling, who initiates Yuliang to the world of prostitution and becomes her lover.
* {{Paparazzi}}: Yuliang is slandered by the gutter press on several occasions, and an indiscreet photograph taken of her with Zhou Enlai ends up costing her husband his job.
* PlatonicProstitution: How the relationship between Yuliang and Pan Zanhua starts out.
* UnconfessedUnemployment: Pan Zanhua loses his job because of his wife's association with Communists, but never tells her. She finds out by complete chance.
* WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue