Jian Guo Xu

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Jian Guo Xu is an artist for our times. Straddling the artistic traditions of both Eastern abstract brushwork and Western color sensibility, Xu has melded 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 watercolor with canvas, acrylics and oil testify to his cross-cultural heritage. Xu is recognized for groundbreaking reinvention of Song dynasty landscape painting with contemporary urban landscape. This style, neo mountains and rivers– is exemplified by two ten-meter long sumi-brush on silk handscrolls that have been featured in major solo exhibitions globally.


The depth of Xu’s (pronounced “shue”) mastery of both Eastern and Western sensibilities lies in his atypical background. In his native China, Xu apprenticed at the age of 10 to the classical Chinese art master Ye Zi How, a scholar artist. Xu learned Western painting and techniques from prominent “First-Generation” Chinese western artist such as the French master Zao Wu Ji. When China opened its doors in the 1980s, American art critics recognized Xu’s artistic maturation- his style combined a mastery of Chinese artistic traditions with an exploration of Western art and techniques.  His works were exhibited in the Brooklyn Museum, Smith College, Boston Museum College, and other institutions across the United States. Xu was the first Chinese-born fellow at Bard College, where he obtained his MFA.


Xu’s works have been featured in major solo exhibitions globally and in the US. His work is currently in the collection of Boston Museum of Fine Arts as well as private collections. His retrospective- Beyond Contemporary was exhibited in the National Museum of China, Beijing Capital Museum, Guangdong Provincial Museum, and Shanghai Museum of Art as part of U.S. Embassy and Consulate-sponsored exhibitions. Ambassador Gary Locke and other Consul Generals have opened his exhibitions as a major part of US-China cultural exchanges.  Xu has given keynote lectures at Central Academy of Art, Shanghai Theater Academy among others, as part of that effort. Xu’s works have been featured in both Christie’s and Sotheby’s Important Contemporary Chinese Art Sales, as well as solo exhibitions at Sotheby’s Hong Kong and Art Basel.


Xu, now a US citizen, lives and works from New York City.