Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information, including hours




Contemporary art

Asian art

View More:


River landscape



Li Xiongcai


1912 - 2001


Li Xiongcai is identified with the Lingnan School of painting, like Guan Shanyue and the School’s founder Gao Jianfu. In the 1930’s Li studied in Japan at the Tokyo Arts College. Upon his return to China in 1935 Li taught at the Guangzhou Arts School, the Guangzhou Arts College and the National Arts College at Chongqing.

During the Sino-Japanese War Li travelled throughout southwest and northwest China absorbing the beauty of nature, the rich emotive qualities of mountains and rivers. It was not, therefore, surprising that landscapes were his favoured subject. Li gained complete proficiency in the established traditions of Chinese painting and with that basis developed his own dramatic and consummate style of landscape painting, characterised by the use of dark tones and a dry brush.

In the accumulation of his work Li laid particular emphasis on study of the great Song and Yuan masters of landscape painting. The spirit of those great masters of the past, Guo Xi, Fan Kuan, Jin Hao and the ‘Four Masters of the Yuan dynasty’ were echoed in Li’s landscapes. It was the learning and experience gained from the study of these masters that enabled Li to evolve a distinctive, dramatic and contemporary style of landscape painting today.

In keeping with the traditions of the Lingnan School, Li ventured into the mountains, the gorges of the Yangzi and the steppelands and deserts of the north and northwest to gain first-hand experience of the natural world. The strongly emotive qualities of his work reflect these travels and experiences. After the establishment of New China Li found a new inspiration in the reconstruction processes and we often see in his work evidence of industrial and agricultural progress.

Excerpt from ‘Two Chinese Modern Masters’, AGNSW, 1985, pg.2.


Place where the work was made




Media category


Materials used

hanging scroll; ink on paper


44.5 x 60.0 cm

Signature & date

Signed c.r., in Chinese, inscribed in black ink "… Xiongcai in 1985"
Signed l.r., in Chinese, stamped in red ink "Xiongcai [artist's seal]"
Signed l.r., in Chinese, stamped in red ink "Duanzhou lishi [artist's seal]"


Gift of the artist 1985


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Li Xiongcai

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

  • Chinese Painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 Nov 1991–27 Jan 1992

Referenced in 1 publication