Hongtao LI (李洪涛), a masterful oil painter in modern and post-modern abstract style, showcased 38 pieces of his art in the United Nations headquarters in New York on March 26-29, 2013.
Born and raised in coastal city of Dalian in northeast China, Li has experienced the hardships and vicissitudes of life, which have not only stoked his fiery passion for arts, but also nurtured his unique style of painting.
The eldest in a family of five children, he was sent to study Qigong, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture with a Taoist priest at age 10. His father died of cancer when Li was only thirteen, and by that time, his mother had also lost most of her sight due to severe eye disease. Li was forced to drop out of school to become the breadwinner of the family. At age 16, his desire for higher education drove him to study and apply for an electrical engineering school. He was accepted as an exceptional talent, but the Cultural Revolution interfered with his plans. For years, he had to take on odd jobs such as a construction worker or attending a limestone kiln to make a living. But two hobbies and talents of his got him through those difficult years: he was born with a dramatic tenor voice and his ability in drawing and painting. Eventually, he found himself as a vocalist in a national entertaining group in the capital city of China and finally he had more access and means to pursue a career in oil painting. Despite the instability of his early years, there was one constant throughout his life: his passion for fine art.
Li started drawing at a very young age, helping his mother make arts and crafts to supplement their family income. While he never had an opportunity to get a formal education in painting, he sought every opportunity he could to visit art exhibitions and read books in Chinese and European art history. Many well-known Chinese and Western painters became his idols. Names such as Qi BaiShi (齐白石), Bada Shanren (八大山人), Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh, de Kooning and Kandinsky have influenced and inspired him. In almost all his leisure time, he immersed himself painting.
His passion and skill for painting, his ability to observe and absorb, and his depth of life experience led him to master and create his own style of painting. The rolling waves of the ocean he grew up observing, his attainments in music and Chinese medicinal philosophy – all can be seen in the brushstrokes of his paintings. His paintings are passionate, vibrant, dynamic and spontaneous, often upbeat and joyous, constantly changing and evolving.
With his intimate knowledge of Chinese philosophy and oriental medicine, Li translates his Eastern heritage into an effortless use of vibrant colors. His art exquisitely expresses the incredibly rich feelings of the universe inside and outside of him. People often feel the palpable energy infused into his colors, as if the paintings exude a primal but harmonious life force. Some critics have dubbed his art, “paintings with energy”. Many professional painters and art critics have praised Mr. Li’s style, claiming that his achievements in oil painting are “unique” and “unparalleled”.
Hongtao Li’s paintings have been collected by many prestigious museums and art galleries in the US, Europe, and Asia. He is also the first Chinese painter who had a personal exhibition at Louvre Palace in France. Li’s work is collected and sought after by influential figures and celebrities from all over the world.
The exhibition is organize by China International Culture Association, and sponsored by Beijing S & P Investing Management co ltd.
Master Hongtao Li’s art is featured on our guided meditation CDs and MP3s.