Quan Sun’s life story has been and will always be, about art. It is impossible to separate her life from her work, and her heart from her art.
Quan Sun was born in 1942 in Shanghai, during the Japanese-Chinese War. Her father was a famous chemist who brought the first nylon to China, after getting his PHD in Germany. Quan Sun’s mother traveled the South Sea at a young age to become a principal at a university in Malaysia. She would later return to China, give up her career and gold to sponsor her husband’s career, while she raised the children.
As the youngest of five children, Quan Sun grew up being surrounded by nannies, drivers, and cooks. She was often picked on by her older siblings and accused of being a spoiled baby. Instead of going to school, she would often stay home and pretend to be sick. Instead of resting, she would use this time to draw, and began her lifelong love of art. She insisted that instead of taking care of her needs, everyone around the house would allow her to sketch them. It became evident at this time that her passion was for art and that she would pursue the life of that of an artist.
Quan Sun’s artistic pursuits were soon recognized and supported by her parents, which led her to the most authoritative art university in China - The Central Art Academy of China. After the cultural revolution erupted in 1966, she and her classmates were sent down to the countryside for military training. During these six years of hardship in the beautiful rural landscapes of China, the blossoming artist Quan Sun was inspired. This experience would become formative for her style and still one of her favorite subjects to paint. She painted farmers, animals, villages, and the simple, yet harsh way of life outside the city. It is also during this time she met and wed a very talented young soldier, Hu Shi. Hu would become one of China's most influential artists of his time, and later to be called the Picasso of the East.
Like her mother, at an early age, Quan Sun sacrificed her own passions and dreams to support her husband's artistic pursuits. During their marriage of fifteen years she served as Shi Hu’s teacher and artistic advisor and did not paint a single piece of her own. Her solo work did not begin until 1985, after the divorce from Shi Hu.
In 1990 she moved to the United States with her second husband Paul Lin, and her daughter, Lei Shi. Not only did her reclusive personality serve her art well with a constant focus, but it also allowed for her to accrue an entire collection to be discovered and appreciated for years to come.