Featured Artist in Collection

Li Keran (1907 – 1989)

Waterfall of the Huang Mountains

Waterfalls of the Huang Mountains by Li Keran

Li Keran was a contemporary Chinese painter and art educator. Considered one of the most important Chinese artists in the latter half of the 20th century, he was also an influential professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts where he taught a generation of Chinese artists.

Li’s paintings are highly valued at auctions, with several fetching hundreds of millions of yuan. His personal auction record was set by Thousands of Hills in a Crimsoned View (also known as Landscape in Red), one of his most celebrated works, which sold for CN¥293.25 million (US$46 million) in June 2012.

Li was appointed as the first president of China National Academy of Painting in 1979. In later life Li had many followers, who formed the “Li School” in the 1980s.

Li innovated Chinese landscape painting by integrating native and western techniques, inasmuch as he was inspired by Rembrandt’s chiaroscuro. By introducing shadowing, he developed “backlighting landscape”. Besides, he also advocates the practice of sketching or painting from nature on-site.

Li is also noted for the enlivened water buffaloes in his paintings. His calligraphy is deemed to be distinctive, and he is also a competent huqin (a traditional Chinese music instrument) player.