1946 photograph of Qi Baishi, by Lang Jingshan
Qi Baishi (1864-1957) 齊白石
Qi Baishi (January 1, 1864 – September 16, 1957) was an influential Chinese painter.
Born to a peasant family from Xiangtan, Hunan, Qi became a carpenter at 14, and learned to paint by himself. After he turned 40, he traveled, visiting various scenic spots in China. After 1917 he settled in Beijing.
He is perhaps the most noted for the whimsical, often playful style of his watercolor works.
Some of Qi's major influences include the early Qing dynasty painter Bada Shanren (Zhu Da) and the Ming dynasty artist Xu Wei.
His pseudonyms include Qí Huáng (齊璜) and Qí Wèiqīng (齐渭清). The subjects of his paintings include almost everything, commonly animals, scenery, figures, toys, vegetables, and so on. He theorized that "paintings must be something between likeness and unlikeness, much like today's vulgarians, but not like to cheat popular people". In his later years, many of his works depict mice, shrimp or birds.
He was also good at seal carving and called himself "the rich man of three hundred stone seals" (三百石印富翁).
In 1953 he was elected president of the China Artists Association. He died in Beijing in 1957. (Wikipedia)