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Biography of Guan Shan-Yue 


Guan Shanyue, originally named Zepei, was born in 1912 in Yangjiang of the Guangdong province. His father was a school teacher and was skilled in Chinese painting. Because of his father's influence, Guan has cultivated an intense interest in painting since childhood. He became a primary school teacher in Guangzhou after his graduation from the Guangzhou College of Education in 1933. In the same year, Gao Jianfu, the great Lingnan painter, was appointed professor of Chinese painting by the Zhongshan University. With the help of his old classmates, Guan went to the university to sit in Gao's lectures. He was later attracted to study art in the Gao's school, the Chunshui Art Studio. From that time onwards, Guan learned Chinese painting under Gao till 1940.


Guan organized his first one-man exhibition in late 1939. The exhibition, which received very favourable comments from art critics, was put on show in Macao, Hong Kong and Guangzhouwan (Zhanjiang) till the spring of 1940. In 1941, he left Guangdong and travelled through the various provinces in West China. During the tour, he kept on painting and sketching, and presented exhibitions at cities like Shaoguan, Guilin, Guiyang, Chongqing, Kunming, Chengdu, Xi'an and Lanzhou. Later, he made a study tour to Dunhuang with his wife, Li Xiaoping. He copied the mural paintings in the rocket caves and made careful researches on the art of Buddhist painting. The period from 1940 to 1945 marked a significant stage of development in Guan's art of painting. During these years. of travelling, he began to establish a distinctive style of his own.


In 1946, he returned to Guangzhou and was appointed professor and head of the Chinese Painting Department by the Guangzhou Art Academy. A year later, he made a tour to Southeast Asia and presented exhibitions in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. In 1948, he organized an exhibition in Shanghai. On show were all his sketches and paintings made during his travels in West China and Southeast Asia. Two illustrated catalogues were published for that exhibition. In early 1949, he joined the Renjian Painting Society in Hong Kong and participated actively in revolutionary art activities.


He went back to China after the founding of the People's Republic of China. Since then, he has been the Professor and Deputy Head of the Art Department of the Huanan Arts Institute, the Professor and Deputy Director of the Zhongnan Art Academy, the Professor and Deputy Director of the Guangzhou Institute of Fine Arts. He became a member of the Communist Party of China in 1956. Apart from teaching, he often goes to construction sites and places of historic interest to do outdoor sketching. He also travels abroad to inspect and learn the art of painting of other countries. In the past years, he has visited Korea, Poland, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Vietnam and Japan. In October 1982, he was invited to Japan to hold exhibitions at Tokyo and Osaka.



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