The China National Academy of Painting is directly administrated by the China Ministry of Culture, and is a national public institution that combines artistic creation, research, education, collection and promotion under a single organization. The China National Academy of Painting began as the National Academy of Chinese Painting. It was established in 1981, under the care and support of the China State Council and other leaders. It has now enjoyed thirty years of development, during which it has produced many art masters and artworks that have been highly influential in the development of contemporary Chinese art. The first director of the China National Academy of Painting was famous Chinese painting master Li Keran. He was joined by Cai Ruohong, Ye Qianyu and Huang Zhou as the first leadership group at the academy. The second director was Liu Boshu. The third director was Long Rui. The current director is Yang Xiaoyang, the executive deputy director is Lu Yushun, and the deputy directors are Xie Yongquan, Zhang Xiaoling, Zhang Jiangzhou, Zhao wei, Zeng Laide and Ji Lianbin.
The China National Academy of Painting oversees the Chinese Painting Academy, the Calligraphy and Seal Engraving Academy, the Oil Painting Academy, the Printmaking Academy, the Sculpture Academy, the Fine Art Research Institute, the Public Art Academy and the Youth Painting Academy, with Fan Zengxian, Long Rui, Shen Peng, Zhan Jianjun, Guo Runwen, Huang Yongyu, Guang Jun Qian Shaowu, Shao Dazhen, Yuan Yunfu and Du Dakai serving as directors, executive directors and deputy directors, comprising a leadership of top Chinese artists. There are nearly 300 professionals working at the National Painting Academy at present, drawn from famous artists and masters of the Chinese art world.
During its thirty years of development, the National Painting Academy went through three transformations. It began as the Chinese Painting Creative Team, founded under the auspices of the China Ministry of Culture in 1977. In 1981, with the approval of the State Council, the National Academy of Chinese Painting was established on the foundation of the Chinese Painting Creative Team, adding the functions of research, exhibitions, exchange, collection and training. The establishment of the National Academy of Chinese Painting was an important marker of the wholesale revival of Chinese fine art in this new era of Chinese history, and was viewed with great importance by China’s top party and government leaders such as Ye Jianying, Li Xiannian, Wan Li, Gu Mu, Yao Yilin and Fang Yi. Wan Li, Gu Mu, Yao Yilin and Fang Yi often asked about the status of the academy’s construction, At the time of its inception, the National Academy of Chinese Painting gathered together many famous painters such as Li Keran, Cai Ruohong, Ye Qianyu, Huang Zhou, Liu Haisu, Lu Yanshao, Wu Zuoren, Li Kuchan, Zhang Ding, Hua Junwu, Jiang Zhaohe, Zhu Qizhan, Guan Shanyue, Li Xiongcai, Ya Ming, Wei Zixi, Song Wenzhi, He Haixia and Tian Shiguang, who then engaged in large art creations in the service of the state, and preserving the best for posterity. In 2006, in response to the needs of a burgeoning Chinese fine art industry and backed by the approval of the Central Organizational Council Office, the National Academy of Chinese Painting changed its name to the China National Academy of Painting.
Over the past three decades, the China National Academy of Painting’s development and construction have been infused with the spirit of four generations of leaders, embodying the clear academic approaches of the four successive directors and their leadership teams. Facing the ancient and venerated traditions of Chinese painting, director Li Keran promoted:using the utmost effort to strike within, and the utmost courage to strike without; facing the onslaught of western art thinking, director Liu Boshu promoted :continuity and perseverance; entering into a new millennium, director Long Rui promoted :staying close to our roots while engaging in a thorough overhaul regarding the westernizing trends in fine arts creative research; after engaging in a thorough investigation into the current state of fine art, the fourth generation of leaders, led by director Yang Xiaoyang, emphasized:Chinese spirit, Chinese style and Chinese standards and proposed ;the greatest beauty as truth as the core academic approach.
Through thirty years of development and several generations of collective effort, the China National Academy of Painting is today a comprehensive new institution centered on artistic creation and research and combining the functions of exhibition, exchange, collection, training, promotion and publication. With its proactive academic approach and its many achievements in creation and research, it plays a leading role in the Chinese art world.