Li Gui Jun

  • Born in Beijing, China (1964)
  • Lives and works in Beijing, China

Exhibitions

  • Permanent Collection: China National Museum of Fine Arts
  • Permanent Collection: Shanghai Art Museum
  • Permanent Collection: The Burgers Collection in Hong Kong

Li Gui Jun is amongst the foremost painters in China and his works regularly achieve impressive auction results, such as his 140 Art Studio fetching USD 1 million at Sotheby’s first-ever auction in China—an early masterpiece that marked his quick rise as an influential young artist in the 1985 New Wave Art Movement.

For the last twenty years he has painted only Chinese adolescent girls in domestic interiors. Brought up in simple, disciplined environments, these budding young women exist in an innocent dreamy world, where the reality of life in society is slowly looming, for instance through urban scenery outside the window.

Li’s works often have a philosophical mood or intent, which places them beyond the realism that initially meets the eye. Though some portraits have a snapshot spontaneity, many more seem posed and deliberately composed. The fans and flowers, plants and pets, , colibris and butterflies in the scenes verge from everyday casual objects to symbolically charged references.

Li’s work has been classified as New Classical Chinese Oil Painting (of scenes of urban life), in part due to his early tutelage from Jin Shangyi and Yang Feiyun, and also as Neo-Realism. Yet his classical-realist work with a modern eye and mind forms a league of its own.

The beauty of his paintings comes from a meticulously planned and skillfully executed process. Unusually, he starts from the head down, leaving the background until last. There are thematic references to painters in East and West, and some of his techniques borrow from the Old Masters, such as Rembrandt for the formula he uses to render his delicate skin tones.

Li works at his tasteful studio almost every day from 10am to 5pm. A disciplined and hardworking artist, he also makes sure there is time for his daily 5K run, as well as time to enjoy fine food, wine and cigars with family and friends.

Born in Beijing in 1964, Li took his BA and MFA from the prestigious Central Arts Institute of China. His works have been featured in thematic and solo exhibitions in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, and Belgium