Hou Beiren was born in 1917 in Liaoning Province and is celebrating his 101st birthday anniversary this year. Master Hou is considered one of the greatest Chinese masters of the 20th and 21st Century. A master painter, scholar, author and poet who studied with the great Chinese Master Huang Binghong, Hou Beiren’s works embody the traditional Chinese literati spirit. Yet, Master Hou has adapted his style to today's contemporary world.
Hou Beiren is considered one of China’s last living master literati artists. His poetry pays homage to the great Chinese literati artists and poets of Chinese history and redefines the ancient form of literati painting style.
Hou Beiren was a close friend of Zhang Daqian. Upon Zhang's return from his Paris exhibit in 1956, the two artists began a long dialogue and collaboration of "splash color" style painting which completely transformed traditional Chinese art. In the years since their first encounter, Master Hou has innovated "splash color" painting far beyond what was originally conceived by the two artists.
With new adaptations of “wild cursive” (狂草) brush strokes, contemporary abstract structures and brush works, and a life-like, vibrant, contemporary color pallet, Hou Beiren has established a new style of Chinese painting to create the “Contemporati” genre.
A significant body of Hou Beiren’s art can be found in two museums in China dedicated to his works. In 2004, the City of Kunshan built the Hou Beiren Art Museum. In 2015, Hou Beiren’s home province of Liaoning opened the Hou Beiren and Zhan Yunqin (Master Hou’s wife) Pavilion at the Liaoning Provincial Museum, one of the top three national museums of China.
Hou Beiren’s works have been collected by many international museums, including the De Young Museum in San Francisco, the San Jose Museum of Art, National Art Museum of China, Nanjing Museum, Zhejiang Art Museum, and the Austria Museum of Modern Art among many others.