Xu Beihong (Chinese artist)



2015-06-26 10:36:23

Xu Beihong (1895-1953) was an influential Chinese painter.

Brief History/biography

Xu Beihong studied Chinese works and calligraphy with his father from a young age. He went on to study in Tokyo and Paris, and travelled around Western Europe gaining knowledge of Western styles and techniques.

Xu returned to China in 1927. He organised several exhibitions of modern Chinese paintings, including during World War II. He became president of the Central Academy of Fine Arts at the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, and his policies controlled and shaped the art world in China throughout this time.

Xu was one of the first artists to articulate the need for a Chinese modernist art form at the beginning of the 20th century. He is considered to be the painter most responsible for the direction of the modern Chinese art world.


Xu was best known for his shuimohua (Chinese ink paintings) of horses and birds. He combined Chinese brush and ink techniques with Western perspective and composition.

He created monumental oil paintings with epic Chinese themes, and detailed oil portraits in a Western style.

In addition, several pieces of oil on ceramics, such as painted vases, were created by Xu.

Notable sales

  • Cultivation on the Peaceful Land (1951) sold for 266.8 million yuan ($42.37 million) at Beijing Poly International in December 2011.
  • Slave and Lion (1924) sold for HK$53,880,000 ($6,954,723) at Christie’s in November 2006.
  • Cattleya sold for HK$17,460,000 ($2,250,515) at Christie’s in November 2011.
  • Admiring the Stallion (1937) sold for HK$16,340,000 ($2,114,875) at Christie’s in May 2012.
  • Comorants (1935) sold for HK$13,540,000 ($1,752,391) at Christie’s in May 2010.
Share on social media
Write a response...

The bookmarklet lets you save things you find to your collections.

Note: Make sure your bookmarks are visible.


Click and drag the Collect It button to your browser's Bookmark Bar.

collect it