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Shanghai contemporary artist Li Shoubai

Li Shoubai's gallery in Tianzifang (Taikang Lu), Shanghai

In early June Grace and I were early for a dinner at Bund 18, so we strolled around the luxury shops downstairs and by coincidence Shanghai painter and paper cutter Li Shoubai (李守白) was having an exhibition there. Although he was not there anymore (the exhibition was officially only open during daytime) we spent quite some time looking at his paintings and paper cuttings, and I really liked his art. He has a very distinctive style (contemporary but quite realistic) and focuses on Shanghai scenes, especially things related to life in and around shikumen (traditional Shanghainese houses).

A few days later Grace visited his gallery in Tianzifang (Taikang Lu) and she bought among others one of his books and a 3D paper cutting of a Shanghai scene. We  took the paper cutting to Holland a few weeks later and gave it as a present to my parents . The day after a photographer came to do a photo shoot of me at my parents house and he wanted a Chinese touch to the picture. He then decided to put the paper cutting in the window through which he shot me. This picture eventually ended up in a Dutch newspaper (you can see the picture here) and Grace put it on Weibo. Guess what, Li Shoubai saw the Weibo tweet and she got in touch with him again.

This morning we visited his studio with my parents to look at some of his works. Li Shoubai showed us around and explained everything about the different paintings, cuttings and sculptures that he makes. He also introduced us to his team of artists and to his daughter, who is also an artist. We also met his wife, a very nice lady who, judging from her looks, was probably a model for several of his paintings.

With Li Shoubai in his gallery

Li Shoubai is getting quite well known, he told us that he just got back from a trip to Germany where he held an exhibition in Hamburg (the show ended yesterday). Also one of his large art pieces is used in Starbucks in Xintiandi, right behind the counter where you order your coffee. And many famous people visited his gallery, among others I saw a picture of the French prime minister and of course pictures of many well-known Chinese.

We both like his work very much, and we therefore bought one of his paintings today (it’s the one that’s above my head in the picture). When his works from Germany are back in Shanghai I plan to come again, because during the exhibition in Bund 18 I had seen some works that intrigued me but that were not in his gallery, but might have been in Hamburg.

If you like contemporary Chinese art you should visit his gallery and studio in Tianzifang, located in Lane 210, right off of Taikang Lu. Also check out his websites at and

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