Qi Baishi

Qi Baishi
Chickens with Palms
Ink on Paper
102 x 33 cm
Circa 1930's
Price Upon request

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 and the Ming Dynasty artist Xu Wei.

His pseudonyms include Qí Huáng  and Qí Wèiqīng. 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”.

In 1953 he was elected to the president of the Association of Chinese Artists. He died in Beijing in 1957.

One of his paintings, Eagle Standing on Pine Tree, was sold for 425.5 million yuan ($65.5 million) in 2011, becoming one of the most expensive paintings ever sold.