Li Kuchan (1899-1983) was from Gaotang, Shandong Province. Before he entered the Western Painting Department of the National Beiping Art School in 1922, studying under Qi Baishi, Li studied calligraphy and Chinese literature. After his graduation in 1925, he taught at Beijing Normal University and Baoding No. 2 Normal University. From 1930-1934, he taught at the National Hangzhou Art School. During the war years, he lived in Beiping; because of his close contacts with patriots, he was thrown in prison. In 1946 he became a teacher at the Beiping Art School, and after 1949, he became a researcher in the Minorities Art Research Office of the Central Art Academy and a professor in the Chinese Painting Department. During the Cultural Revolution, Li was considered a "reactionary academic authority" and a "black painter". After his name was cleared in 1976, he joined the Chinese Painting Research Institute.
Li was known for his flower-and-bird paintings and calligraphy. His work has been included in the collection of the China Art Gallery.