- James Cahill
- , revised by Vyvyan Brunst
[Kao Ch’i-p’ei; zi Weizhi; hao Qieyuan]
(b Tieling, Liaoning Province, 1660; d 1734).
Chinese painter of Manchu heritage. Gao Qipei’s family came from Tieling, near Shenyang in Manchuria, but he appears to have grown up in Jiangxi province, where his father, Gao Tianjue, took an administrative post in 1659. Although Chinese, they had assimilated sufficiently among the Manchu that in the early years of the Qing dynasty Gao Tianjue fought against loyalist rebels, was captured and later killed. As a result Gao Qipei was given an exemption from the imperial examinations and he pursued a successful official career at the courts of the Qing-dynasty emperors Kangxi (1662–1722) and Yongzheng (1723–1735). His duties afforded him time to paint. Gao began to paint at a time when the two main schools of Chinese painting—the styles of the followers of Dong Qichang and the Individualists, such as Hongren—suffered from a lack of originality. From the age of 20, Gao was anxious about establishing a distinctive style; he was constantly depressed, and reportedly took to bed with exhaustion. Gao’s solution, which allegedly came to him in a dream, was to paint with his ...