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Virtual Asian-American Art Museum Project

Alexei Taylor, Author

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Li Huayi

1948 Shanghai, China

1948: Shanghai, China
1982-present: San Francisco, California


1984: MFA Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California

Selected Works:

Rock and Pine, 2008. Two-fold screen, ink on paper, with gold ground, 185 by 170 cm.
Dragons Hidden in Mountain Ridges, ink on paper, 2009
Branches of Pine with Rocks, c 2009. Pair of six-fold screens, ink on silk with gold ground, framed; each screen 382 by 176 cm


Sheng, Hao. Fresh Ink: Ten Takes on Chinese Tradition. Boston: MFA Publications, 2010. (134-147)
Maudsley, Catherine, editor. Li Huayi at 60. Hong Kong: The Ink Society, 2008.
Tak Hei, Chan. Li Huayi Landscape Paintings (1993-95). Translated by Thomas E. Smith. Hong Kong: Wu’s Studio, Artlink, 1996.
Knight, Michael, and Li Huayi. The Monumental Landscapes of Li Huayi. San Francisco, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2004.
Eskenazi, Giuseppe, editor. Mountain Landscapes by Li Huayi. London: ESKENAZI, 2007.


Li Huayi began studying and practicing art at age six. At eighteen he was forced to abandon art school to become a worker-artist during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. In the late 1970s, after travel restrictions were eased, Li visited many of China’s important scenic, historic and cultural sites—strongly influencing his contemporary landscape works. Li moved to San Francisco and enrolled at the Academy of Art University. Although his landscape paintings appear traditional, Li’s approach borrows from modern western artists, including the abstract expressionists. He begins by laying paper down on the floor and blocking out the major compositional thrust with large brushes and watered down ink, lifting the paper to move the ink. Using the resulting image to define the landscape he creates, he spends a month or more layering in details. Li’s magnificent landscapes encompass tradition, but contemporize Chinese landscape painting into unique, modern forms.
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