Yan Wenliang born in Suzhou. He learned Chinese flower and bird painting from his father, and later printmaking and watercolors in Commercial Press in Shanghai. In 1912 he returned to Suzhou to concentrate on the study of western painting. In 1922, he and Hu Cuizhong, Zhu Shijie founded Suzhou College of Fine Arts. In 1929 Yan Wenliang began his formal training at the National School of Fine Arts in Paris, France ( École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris). Yan persisted in his realist artistic style while merging an eastern cultural spirit into his works. Besides he was one of the most important educator in that time. In 1952, he bacame the vice-director of The East China Branch of the Central Academy of Fine Arts.