Cao Youcheng (1929) is from Wuxi, Jiangsu Province. After his graduation from the Shanghai Branch of the Central Art Academy in 1952, he was employed at the Shanghai People's Fine Arts Publishing house (上海人民美术出版社, Shanghai renmin meishu chubanshe). In 1960 he was transferred to a teaching post at the Shanghai Municipal Publishing Institute, which he left in 1963 for a job as a lecturer at the Shanghai Municipal Fine Arts School. In 1983, he took up teaching at the Arts Department of Shanghai University.
Cao has been known for his oil paintings and propaganda poster designs.