Xu Jianguo

1951 Shanghai China


Xu Jianguo, referred to stylistically as Da Diaozi ("Hue Cathcher"), was born in Shanghai in 1951. Straddling the artistic traditions of both Eastern abstract brushwork and Western colour sensibility, he melds both techniques to create works that push the boundaries of contemporary art. Xu's unique medium, the integration of rice paper with Sumi ink and watercolour with canvas, acrylics, and oil paints, testifies to his cross-cultural heritage. 

As a youth, Xu studied classical painting and calligraphy under the scholar Ye Zhizhao, a researcher at the Shanghai Literature and History Research Institute. Xu obtained a Bachelors of Arts from the Shanghai Academy of Theater in 1976 and moved to the United States in 1984 to pursue an M.F.A from Bard College. Over the following thirty years, he has developed his artistic career, exploring multi-media disciplines, from his studio in New York City.

The China Pavilion featured Xu Jianguo's handscroll The New Vista of Shanghai for the 2010 Shanghai Expo. From 2010, a solo exhibition sponsored by the US Missions travelled to prominent museums in China, including the Beijing Capital Museum (Fall 2010), Shanghai Art Museum (Spring 2011), Guangdong Provincial Museum (Spring 2012) and National Museum of China (Autumn 2013). His works have been exhibited in the Brooklyn Museum, Smith College, Boston Museum College, and other institutions across the United States. Currently Xu's painting is on view at the Song: The Golden Era of Chinese Aesthetics at Museum of Fine Arts Boston in the United States. Alongside masters of the Song Dynasty such as Ma Yuan, Mi Fu, and Xia Yong, Xu has become the first living artist to be exhibited alongside these masters, sharing the same platform.

Alisan Fine Arts has been working with Xu since 2016 and had his solo exhibition in 2018. We also included his works at the Art Basel Hong Kong in 2016, and Art 021 Shanghai in 2018 and 2023.


1951    Born in Shanghai, China
1961-66    Studied fine arts at Yie Zehow’s (researcher at Institute of Culture and History) studio in Shanghai; received scholarships
1973-76    BA, Shanghai Academy of Theater, Shanghai, China
1976-84    Stage Designer at the Shanghai Opera House
1984 Masters Program in Fine Arts Bard College, USA; fellowship and full scholarship 
1984-85    Art designer at M&M designer studio, New York, USA. Studied at the Art Students League of New York School, USA
1985    Calligraphy commissioned by IBM Magazine
1985-87    MFA, Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College, New York, USA
1987    Listed as Guest Artist of the New York Foundation of Art, USA. Inauguration of National Building Museum, gala dinner organized together with Oscar-winning female artist Celesty Holms, Washington DC, USA. Began extensive travel (over 2000 working days) around the world to research the origin, legacy and transformation of Eastern and Western cultures
1991    Studied arts and sites in Xian, Beijing, Sichuan, Guangzhou, China
1994    Went to Singapore and studied bronzes from the tombs of Yi, Marquis of Zeng, and Warring period. Curated solo exhibition for German artist Siegward Sprotte at Shanghai Art Museum and wrote the accompanying preface ‘Bada Shanren of the West’
1994-04    Did research and painted Shanghai for ink on silk handscroll painting in the Song manner(6x48m)
1994-11    Did research and painted Guangzhou for ink on silk in fan-shaped paintings in the Song manner (10 paintings with each diameter 28cm)
1995    Studied Southern Song Guan ware sites in Hangzhou, China. Studied Chinese history of art in Xian and Shanghai, and studied Shanghai Art Museum’s porcelain and painting collections
1996    Studied Western art history in Rome, Florence, Italy. Studied History of painting in Paris, France
1997    Studied of Western art history in Paris, France; Zurich, Switzerland. Studied multiple styles of Tibetan Tanka Painting and its influences in Chengdu, China. Studied the New Archaeological Discoveries of Palace Museum collection in Beijing, China 
1998    Studied art history in Madrid, Barcelona, Spain
1999    Studied art history in Munich and Amsterdam
2003    Travelled 11 cities in Europe to study history of art
2004    Studied German art in Berlin, Germany 
2004-08    Did research and painted Shanghai ink & Chinese colour on silk handscroll in the Song manner
2004-10 Design and supervised the largest private eastern scholar garden in New York
2007    Invited to attend art acclamation activity of “Potsdam 2010”, Germany
2010    Received the prize of honuor on art communication between China and America by the US State Department
2013    Guest Professor, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China
2015    Exclusive Interview, included in the book Interview with 40 Masters of Arts & Culture, Xinhua News Agency, Hong Kong


  • Xu Jianguo: Metropolis Reimagined, A Selling Exhibition of Contemporary Ink Paintings, Sotheby’s Gallery, Hong Kong
  • Beyond Contemporary: The 50 Years’ Artistic Vision of Xu Jianguo, Travelling exhibition sponsored by US Embassy in China, Capital Museum; National Museum of China, Beijing; Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai; Guangdong Museum, Guangzhou, China
  • Gallery of Ann Felton Multicultural Centre, Onondaga Community College, New York, USA
  • Reece Gallery, New York, USA
  • Carolyn Hill Gallery Soho, New York, USA 
  • Guest professor solo exhibition and talk, College of the Ozark, Point Lookout, USA
  • B & B America, New York, USA
  • 182 Hudson Street Gallery, New York, USA
  • Guest professor solo exhibition and talk, Evangel College, Springfield, USA
  • Guest professor solo exhibition and talk, Creative art Centre, University of Colorado, USA




2016 2015
  • Xu Jianguo, A New Vista of Shanghai on view, STA Phenomenon-Inspiration and Development:70th Alumni by Shanghai Theatre Academy, the Long Museum, Shanghai, China
  • Asian Pacific Network Week, Gala & Talk, sponsored by US Embassy in Guangzhou, Guangzhou Garden Hotel, China
  • Arts in Spring, sponsored by Guangzhou Cultural Affairs Bureau, Guangzhou Library, Guangzhou, China
  • Integration: Joint Exhibition of Xu Jianguo and Ju Yan, EMGdotArt, Guangzhou, China
  • Special exhibition, State Guest Hall, Shanghai Expo, Shanghai, China
  • Hangzhou Art Fair, Hangzhou, China
  • Onondaga Community College, New York, USA
  • Asian Art Group Exhibition, Reece Gallery, New York, USA
  • Art Expo Hong Kong, Forum Gallery, New York, USA
  • Three men show, West Harbour Gallery, New York, USA
  • New Trends Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Art Expo Miami, Miami, USA
  • Falkenstern Fine Art Exhibition, Madeira, Portugal
  • Two men show, Vincent’s Obsession Gallery, Boston, USA
  • Art Export Argentina, Argentina
  • Hamilton College, Clinton, New York, USA
  • Smithtown Township Arts Council, New York, USA
  • Baruch College, New York, USA
  • Reece Gallery, New York, USA
  • Gallery of Lincoln Center, New York, USA
  • Elaine Benson Gallery, New York, USA
  • Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK
  • Sarah Lawrence College; Art Gallery Bronxville, New York, USA
  • Maison Alcoa House. Montreal, Canada
  • East End Arts Humanities Council, Riverhead, New York, USA
  • Islip Art Museum, Long Island, New York, USA
  • Two men show, Reece Gallery, China
  • Carolyn Hill Gallery Soho, New York, USA
  • Elaine Benson Gallery, New York, USA
  • Hamunquist Gallery, New York, USA
  • Chinese Dreams, Brooklyn Museum, New York; Boston City Hall Gallery; School of Museum of Fine Arts Boston; Smith College, Boston, USA 
  • Shanghai People’s Park Gallery, Shanghai, China
  • Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China

  • The Pattern of the Visual Thinking & Integration of Eastern and Western Culture, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, Guangzhou, China
  • Great Harmony of Visual Thinking, EMGdotArt, Guangzhou, China
  • Art DNA Forum 2: The Creative Process and the Study of the Spirit, Beijing American Centre, US Embassy in Beijing, China
  • Art DNA Forum 1: Visual Thinking, The Creation of the Harmony, UCCA, Beijing, China 
  • Lecture sponsored by the U.S Embassy, China Renmin University, Beijing, China
  • Lecture sponsored by the U.S Embassy, Capital Normal University, Beijing, China
  • Meet The Artist: Art Education Program, sponsored by the US Embassy, National Museum of China, Beijing, China
  • Jinan University, Guangzhou, China
  • EMGdotArt, Guangzhou, China
  • Guangzhou Thoughts Salon, Guangzhou Museum, Guangzhou, China
  • Commercial Chamber of US Consulate General in Guangzhou, Guangzhou, China
  • Pudong Development Bank, Guangzhou branch, Guangzhou, China
  • Culture Section of US Consulate General in Guangzhou, Guangzhou, China
  • Sponsored by US Consulate General in Shanghai, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China
  • Xu Jianguo Art Seminar, Shanghai Artists Associations, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China
  • Royal Asiatic Society Shanghai, Shanghai, China
  • China Renmin University, Beijing, China
  • China Central Academy of Arts, Beijing, China
  • Symposium on the future of Chinese Landscape Painting; with the participation of members of Chinese Artists Association and art critics, Capital Museum, Beijing, China
  • Speech at the annual symposium for the survivors in the second world war organized by American Jewish Association, USA
  • Shanghai Academy of Theatre, Shanghai, China
  • National Building Museum of Architecture, Washington DC, USA
  • Guest professor’s talk and demonstration, Canton County Teachers Association, New York, USA
  • St. Louis Community College, St Louis, USA
  • Demonstration, China Institute of America, New York, USA

Museum of Fine Arts Boston, USA