Liu Haisu (刘海粟, 1896-1994) hailed from Changzhou, Jiangsu Province. In 1912, when he was 16 years old, he set up his own art school in Shanghai. He introduced various new techniques, including a course in figure sketching using live models (1915) and one in outdoor sketching (1917). He started the journal Art (Meishu, 美术) in 1918 and five year later the journal Fine Arts (Yishu, 艺术). He introduced co-education in 1919. In 1952, he became head of the East China Art School and in later years he served as head of the Nanjing Art Academy. In 1983, he was appointed head of the Nanjing Academy. He moved to Hong Kong in 1991.
Liu, who styled himself as "China's van Gogh", was a prolific artist, producing Chinese paintings, oil paintings and calligraphy.