Shandong Culture

Master painter Li Kuchan

( Updated: 2020-07-13

Li Kuchan (1899-1983) was a renowned Chinese painter, calligrapher and art educator who specialized in free-stroke brush paintings.

Li was born in Gaotang county, Liaocheng, Shandong province. Born into a poor peasant family, Li had to take up hard labor in order to pay for art school in Beijing.

Master painter Li Kuchan
File photo: Li Kuchan [Photo/]

In 1923, he began to study under Qi Baishi (1864-1957), a famous contemporary Chinese painter. Qi considered Li to be his best student.

In 1925, Li began to work as an art teacher, and taught at the Central Academy of Fine Arts from 1950 until his death in 1983.

He specialized in bird-and-flower paintings using the free and spontaneous "xieyi" style (freehand brushwork used in traditional Chinese painting).

Li, who grew up in a period when China suffered from poverty and instability, often included eagles in his creations to encourage people to overcome difficulties and fight for national independence.

Li was also an avid collector of stone inscriptions. He devoted a considerable amount of energy to the study of inscriptions or epigraphs as forms of writing during his lifetime.

Master painter Li Kuchan

A painting by Li Kuchan [Photo provided to]

Master painter Li Kuchan

Pine and Eagles, painted by Li Kuchan at the age of 82 [Photo/]