Wu Guanzhong was born on 1919 in Yixing, China. In 1936 Wu enrolled in the National Arts Academy of Hangzhou, studying Chinese and Western painting. Later in 1947, Wu traveled to Paris to study modern art at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts on a government scholarship. Wu was greatly inspired by French Impressionist artists like Matisse, Cezanne and Van Gogh. After 4 years in France he returned to China and began teaching at the Central Academy of Art in Beijing. He tried to introduce Western art to his students but his effort was not appreciated by the institutions.
Wu was even banned a couple of years from painting during the Great Cultural Revolution back in 1966. To avoid provoking the authorities, he later changed his matters and started painting subject like landscapes, architecture, animals and plants which became his trademark and he also did combination of watercolor and Chinese ink in an Impressionism style. Wu held many successful major solo exhibitions in art galleries and museums all around the world.