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— The People’s Republic of China was founded on 1 October 1949, signalling the dawn of a new era for Chinese art. Under the new cultural policies ‘how to serve the people’ and ‘how to describe reality’ became the guidelines for the development of a new school of Chinese painting.
During the politically charged 1960s, xinguohua, or ‘New National Painting’, pivoted toward depicting the prosperous and fulfilled lives of the people under the socialist regime, as well as the romantic imaginations of socialism. Popular themes for landscapes included sites related to the revolution and quotes from Chairman Mao Zedong.
As a leader of the New National Painting, Li Keran (1907-1989) never ceased exploring new creative possibilities. Born in Xuzhou in Jiangsu province, he began painting at 13, copying landscapes by Wang Hui. He enrolled in the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou in 1929, studying under Lin Fengmian and focusing on oil painting…
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April 29, 2019