Liu Wenxi (1933) was born in Shengxian, near Shaoxing, in Zhejiang Province. In 1953, he entered the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts, from which he graduated in 1958. After graduation, he became a professor in the Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts. During the Cultural Revolution, Liu was a member of Qin Wenmei, the Shaanxi Cultural Bureau Art Creation Group, where collaborative works were produced. Liu finds his inspiration in the people and the scenery of northern Shaanxi.
Liu holds, among other positions, the vice-chairmanship of the Shaanxi chapter of the Chinese Artists Association and he is deputy mayor of Yan'an. He has acted as a representative to the National People's Congress.
Liu, who is married to the artist Chen Guangjian (1936), has exhibited widely both in China and abroad. Many of his works have been included in national collections. Most recently, the People's Bank of China commissioned Liu to paint Mao Zedong for a new set of currency, which went into circulation on 1999. Mao's head graces the 100-yuan note, the 50, the 20 and the 10 of this fifth set since 1949.