In 1946, four years after graduation and further study about Chinese literature, French and history, Wu was offered a place at the Ecole National Superieure Des Beaux-arts in Paris on a government scholarship where he mainly studied modern art. During his time in Paris, Wu formed his own ideas about modern western art. He appreciated its novel forms, acute perceptions of the world, diverse techniques of expression and its popular use of abstract form.So many Chinese people experienced these mad disruptions of their lives. Looking back, my main reaction is, what a stupid waste.
Wu returned to China in the summer of 1950 and dedicated his whole life to art in his home country. He encouraged his students at the Central Academy of Art in Beijing to draw on both western and Chinese art to create their style. But this idea went against the contemporary prevailing Soviet- inspired social realism and Wu was heavily criticized.
In 1953, he was expelled from the Central Academy of Fine Arts but was offered a position at the Architecture Department of Tsinghua University, a gesture he still appreciates today. He found a new way to satisfy the social need, gain political approval and fulfill his dream as well -he changed from drawing figures to landscapes. . . .
During the Cultural Revolution (1966 - 1976) Wu was forced to work on a farm and was only allowed to paint on Sundays. With a blackboard as his palette and a manure basket as his easel, Wu worked on a series of paintings of northern villages, in focusing on the beauty of form.
I don't know what my style is. I just paint the things that touch my heart. The style of a painter is his shadow, which means it is behind him and can't be seen by the painter himself. I just care about showing my true feelings in my works. Inspiration is more important than style.(Water Village)