Liu Haisu - Biography


Liu loved painting from a very young age and went to Shanghai for professional studying alone at 14. When he was 17, he established the first art school of modern China—Shanghai institute of Fine Art with his friends, Wu Shiguang and Zhang Jinguang. Later he started coeducation and used nude models to teach paintings. He was the first man to do such things in China and it caused a lot of controversy. People called him a traitor of the arts. However, he got support from Cai Yuanpei(蔡元培), the principal of Peking University. In 1998, he began teaching at Peking University and held his first solo exhibition. In the same year, he also founded the “Art” magazine.

In 1919, he went to Japan to study painting and art education and attended the first art exhibition opening ceremony of the Art School of the imperial Japan. After returning home, he founded an institute—天马会.In 1920, he went to Japan once again. He participated in the opening ceremony of the new imperial Art School on behalf of the arts. In 1927, he was forced to go to Japan because of the political persecution. Asahi Shimbun(朝日新闻社) once assisted him to hold solo exhibitions in Tokyo. In 1938, he went home.

During 1918~1988, Liu climbed Mount Huang(黄山) ten times. His most important works were mostly focused on Mount Huang. In addition, he went to Europe twice. He communicated with famous painters, such as Picasso and Matisse. He made great contributions to the development and spread of Chinese painting. In 1994, he died in Shanghai.

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