Sanyu, real name Chang Yu, was born into a wealthy family in the Sichuan Province in 1901. As a child, he received calligraphy lessons from the renowned Sichuan calligrapher Zhao Xi. During the May Fourth movement, Sanyu left China to study arts in France and later took up residence in Paris. He died of gas poisoning in his studio in Paris in 1966.
The lines in Sanyu’s work are strongly rooted in Chinese calligraphy. As one of the first Chinese modern oil painters trained in France, Sanyu’s unique eye gives birth to refreshing and otherworldly styles. His gentle personality and free spirit liberate him from worldly limitations. His works are largely based on the nude female, human figures, still objects such as flowers, and animals.
In his childhood, Sanyu enjoyed quietly watching the interactions of animals, and would spend hours writing stories about those animals he observed. Such behavior shows the artist’s sharp scrutiny of the world around him, and his innate ability to freely express his imagination.