Qi Baishi (Chinese, 1864–1957) is considered the most popular painter in 20th century China. Born in Hunan Province, he painted in a traditional Chinese style, despite having no formal training in painting or calligraphy. Qi is best known for his works featuring flowers, trees, and small animals, such as birds, mice and shrimp. During the 1900s, Qi made his first trips to Shanghai, where he was significantly influenced by the Shanghai School and the artist Wu Changshou (Chinese, 1843–1927). He moved to Beijing c.1918, and developed a friendship with the painter Chen Shizeng (Chinese, 1876–1923), whose work further inspired Qi's own artistic style. While painting established Chinese themes free from Western influence, Qi distinguished himself by creating a prolific body of work featuring unique compositions and bold color schemes. His paintings are admired not only by Chinese citizens, but also by art scholars and international collectors. One of Qi's works sold at the China Guardian 2011 Spring Auctions in Beijing for more than US$65 million.

Timeline

1864
Born: in Xiangtan, Hunan Province, China
1878
Became a carpenter and learned to paint by himself
1899
Became a student of Wang Xiangyi, one of the most influential scholars of the time
1917
Settled in Beijing, China and llived by his painting and calligraphy
1927
Started to teach traditional painting at the Beijing Art Academy, Beijing, China
1952
Appointed Honorary Professor of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China
Was conferred the title "People's Artist" by the Central Cultural Ministry
1953
Became Chairman of both the Chinese Panting Research Society of Beijing and the Chinese Artists' Association
1955
Honorary fellow of thr East Germany's Academy of Art
1956
Awarded the World Peace Prize by the World Peace Council
1957
Named Honorary President of the Beijing Studio of Traditional Chinese Painting, Beijing, China
Died: in Beijing, China

Exhibitions

2009
Taichung County Seaport Art Center, Taichung, Taiwan (solo)
"Fine chinese paintings", Sotheby's, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong, China
"Qi Baishi’s selected works", Shenzhen Museum, Shenzhen, China
2008
"Qi Baishi Chinese Painting", Beijing Art Academy, Beijing, China (solo)
"Masters of 20th Century Traditional Chinese Painting from the Collections of the National Gallery in Prague", National Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic
2006
"Qi Baishi and His Contemporaries", Kyoto National Museum, Kyoto, Japan
"Traditional Chinese Flower and bird Painting by Qi Baishi", Guandong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China (solo)
2005
“Exhibition of Master Qi Baishi’s Art”, Beijing Capital Museum, Beijing, China (solo)
"National Treasures of China Masterpieces", Ottawa Congress Centre, Ottawa, Canada (travelled to Australia, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and the United States)
2003
"Qi Baishi’s Painting and Seal Carving Works", Qingdao Municipal Museum, Quingdao, China (solo)
2001
"Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Chinese Paintings from the Robert H. Ellsworth Collection", The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
"China Arts Exposition", Beijing, China
1998
"The paintings, calligraphie and seals of Qi Baishi", The Museum of Macau, Macau, China

Literature

2005
Yenyi, Xiao. Qi Baishi, le génie paysan. Paris: Editions You Feng, 2005
1993
Tsao, Jung Ying. The Paintings of Xugu and Qi Baishi. Seattle and London: Far East Fine Arts Inc, 1993
1989
Baishi, Qi. Likeness and Unlikeness -Selected Paintings of Qi Baishi. Beijing: Foreign Language Press, 1989