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Art Index: Wu Guanzhong

In searching for all the marvelous peaks to make sketches, for thirty years during winter, summer, spring, and autumn, I carried on my back the heavy painting equipment and set foot in the river towns, mountain villages, thick forests, and snowy peaks – from the farthest corner of the Eastern Sea to the border towns of Tibet, from the ruins of ancient Greek Gaochang (in Xinjiang) to the isles of seagulls, I stayed in truck stops, courtyards of fishermen’s homes, factory buildings, and broken temples...In all of these I trained myself to develop endurance.”

- Wu Guanzhong


Wu Guanzhong (simplified Chinese: 吴冠中; traditional Chinese: 吳冠中; pinyin: Wú Guànzhōng; 29 August 1919 – 25 June 2010) was a contemporary Chinese painter widely recognized as a founder of modern Chinese painting.

He is considered to be one of the greatest contemporary Chinese painters. Wu's artworks had both Western and Eastern influences, such as the Western style of Fauvism and the Eastern style of Chinese calligraphy.

Born in Yixing in the Jiangsu Province, in 1935, he entered the Zhejiang Industrial School, where he studied engineering. In 1936, he transferred to the National Arts Academy of Hangzhou, studying both Chinese and Western painting under Pan Tianshou and Lin Fengmian.

In 1947, Wu received a scholarship and traveled to Paris to study at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts. During this time, he was greatly inspired by the works of European artists such as Maurice Utrillo, Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, Paul Gauguin, Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, and, in particular, Vincent van Gogh.(Wu Guanzhong Biography)

Wu Guanzhong, (1919-2010), The Yulong Mountains in the Moonlight, 1988. Scroll, mounted and framed, ink and colour on paper.

In 1966, at the start of the Cultural Revolution, Wu destroyed many of his oil paintings, for fear of what the Red Guards would make of them if they searched his house. He was right to be fearful: Wu was summarily banned for seven years from painting; denounced as a ‘bourgeois formalist’; and banished from Beijing to the remote countryside to perform manual labour (far from his wife and family).

As the Cultural Revolution eased in the mid-1970s, Wu was allowed to return home and paint again — and over subsequent decades, he’d go on to become one of his country’s most revered artists.

His first exhibition in France took place at the Cernuschi museum in 1993. The first French catalog of paintings by Wu Guanzhong was published by “La Difference” editions in May 2007, with translations by Hong Wai and Yolaine Escande.

The year before his death — aged 90, in 2010 — he received two major retrospectives: one at Shanghai Art Museum, and another at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing. In 2012, the Asia Society in New York staged the exhibition Revolutionary Ink: the Paintings of Wu Guanzhong.(Wu Guanzhong: His life, his art and his market | Christie's)


Wu Guanzhong, (1919-2010), Bamboo, 1988. Scroll, mounted and framed, ink and colour on paper.

According to Wu Guanzhong’s turnover in 2020 is $103,652,827.

The oldest auction result ever registered on the website for an artwork by this artist is a drawing-watercolor sold in 1988, at Christie's, and the most recent auction result is a print-multiple sold in 2021.'s price levels for this artist are based on 3,343 auction results. Especially: drawing-watercolor, painting, print-multiple, photography, ceramic. 4 artwork(s) are currently for sale on Artprice's Marketplace, sold by 1 Artprice store(s).

Distribution by price (by Artprice)

There are no artworks by Wu Guanzhong currently listed in upcoming public auctions.


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