Ren Xia

Date of Birth:  1876
Date of Death:  1920

Ren Xia, styled Yuhua, was a native of Shanyin and daughter of the well-known modern painter Ren Yi. Intelligent and resourceful from childhood, she learned much from her family tradition and was good at painting figures, landscape and flowers and birds. Her painting style was greatly influenced by her father. According to Han Song Ge Tan Yi Suo Lu (Trivial Artistic Records at Winter Pine Pavilion) by Zhang Minghe, "Ms. Ren Yuhua is daughter of Bonian, whose paintings are renowned in China. Imperceptibly influenced by her father, Ms. Ren is also skilled in painting landscape. When someone asked her to copy Bonian's painting after he passed away, she carefully followed his established techniques. The vigorous and graceful charm is identical to the taste of the original work. It reveals her superb painting skills." When her family was poor, she depended on her remarkable copy skills to act as ghost painter for her father so as to make a living. As Zheng Yimei pointed out, "she sold paintings to provide for her mother and brother and often signed her father's name so as to pass off her paintings as his works. As a result, Bonian's paintings are full of market and the authentic works are mixed with the fake ones." She could be rated as the most successful woman ghost painter creating works for a male painter in the history of art.