Yan Shanchun was an artist and critic who was active before and after the Cultural Revolution. Graduated from China Academy of Art in 1982, Yan engaged in printmaking, traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy, but was deeply influenced by American abstract painting at the same time. He started to explore ways to enrich Chinese literati paintings through studying and researching Western abstract art. In the "85 New Wave" movement, Yan became the major critic who pointed out issues of the Avant-Garde movement and criticized the "excessive westernization" of some works at that time. In 1986, he was appointed to the editorial board of one of the most influential contemporary art magazines "The Trend of Art Thought.".
Zheng Shengtian was Yan’s teacher during their time in the Academy, and soon became like-minded partners. For decades, they have organized exhibitions and academic activities together in the process of promoting contemporary Chinese. Zheng was also the first to introduce Yan’s copperplate print to exhibitions abroad, and which attracted the attention of collectors.
Through a special process, this series of copperplate etchings recreate the subtle and illusory atmosphere in traditional Chinese landscape painting. Yan named each piece for an old master whose style he evokes in each image, including Dong Qichang and Gong Xian. This series of work is included in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.