Wu Guanzhong ( August 29, 1919 – June 25, 2010) was a contemporary Chinese painter. Wu had painted various aspects of China, including much of its architecture, plants, animals, people, as well as many of its landscapes and waterscapes in a style reminiscent of the impressionist painters of the early 1900s.
He was also a writer on contemporary Chinese art.
Wu introduced aspects of Western art to his students at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing, where he taught from 1950 to 1953. The Academy was known to have been dominated by social realism and Wu was called "a fortress of bourgeois formalism".
Between 1953 and 1964 he taught at Tsinghua University, Beijing and then Beijing Fine Arts Normal College. He was appointed a Professor at the Central Institute of Arts and Crafts, Beijing in 1964.
In August 1966, at the outset of Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution, Wu was prohibited from painting and writing about art, and many of his early works were destroyed. In 1970, at the age of 51, he and his wife were separated and assigned to two years of hard labor in the countryside as part of the Communist Party's vast re-education program.
Following that period, he was only allowed to paint on Sundays (his day off from the fields) or on holidays. Finally in 1973, he was allowed to return to Beijing to paint hotel murals and decorations. It was not until after Mao's death in 1976 that Wu, like many of his peers, was able to return to his art-making.
He had his first solo exhibition in 1979, and his career took off in the 1980s.
In 1991 Wu was made an Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture.
Early in his career Guanzhong adopted the pen name Tu, which he used to sign his work.
Wu Guangzhong has had solo exhibitions in major art galleries and museums around the world, including China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Taipei, Korea, England and the USA. His paintings were exhibited at the British Museum in 1992; Wu was the first living Chinese artist to have an exhibition there. One of his paintings, Seascape at Beidaihe (1977), was shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of an exhibition of paintings from the collection of art dealer Robert H. Ellsworth.
His work may also be seen in the collection of the Hong Kong Museum of Art.
In 2008, Wu donated 113 works to the Singapore Art Museum. This donation is the largest Wu Guanzhong donation to a public museum. In 2010, Wu donated works to the Hong Kong Art Museum.