The phrase “Pan of the south and Li of the north (南潘北李)” was coined in recognition of two contemporary painters, Pan Tianshou (潘天寿) and Li Kuchan (李苦禅).

Pan Tianshou began his career teaching Chinese painting in 1923, when he moved to Shanghai to accept an assignment. In that same year, he met the 80-year-old master of the Shanghai School (海派), Wu Changshuo (吴昌硕), and the two painters became intimate friends. (Read more...)

Li Kuchan was born in Gaotang County (高唐县), Shandong Province (山东省). Coming from a poor peasant family, Li took up hard labour to earn his way through art school in Beijing. He also studied with Xu Beihong (徐悲鸿) and Qi Baishi (齐白石); the latter considered Li his best student. (Read more...)