Ren Shuaiying (任率英)

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Ren Shuaiying (1911-1989) was from Juli, Hebei Province. At the age of 20, because of the war, he went and lived in Harbin, working as an apprentice in a stationery store, but was dismissed due to tuberculosis. Returning ill to his hometown, he immediately studied painting. Later, he studied at the Hong Kong Chinese Portrait School, the Shanghai Shilian Comics Correspondence School, the Shanghai Zhongbiao Oil Painting Correspondence School, the Beijing Chinese Painting Correspondence School, etc. with an income earned from farming. In 1937, he went to Beijing and studied Chinese painting. Later, he was accepted as a disciple by the famous figure painter Xu Yansun. In 1951, he was transferred to People's Fine Arts Publishing House as a professional painter. During the "Cultural Revolution", Ren was framed as a "black painter"; a large number of his New Year pictures were held up as being part of the "Four Olds" and sent to the paper mill for chemical pulping. He had to rely on close relatives and friends to preserve some excellent traditional materials of meticulous and heavy color painting. However, despite the difficulties, with the support of the workers stationed in the publishing house, he edited and published 12 collections of Comic Books Reference Materials (连环画参考资料). After 1978, he wrote up his life-long painting experience in the book How to Draw a Sword Horse Character (怎样画刀马人物), which was published by the People's Fine Arts Publishing House. According to the statistics of the People's Fine Arts Publishing House, from 1981 to 1985, several of Ren's New Year paintings were published by the agency, and more than 17 million copies were printed and distributed.

He created Chinese paintings, new comic strips, and New Year paintings. He was good in "meticulous" (工笔 gongbi) figure painting, mostly based on national heroes, classical novels, myths and legends and folk tales

Lou Qijing (娄启倞), Nianhua de gushi [年画的故事, The Story of New Year pictures] (Beijing: Zhongguo minzu wenhua chubanshe, 2020)

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