Hu Shanyu was born in 1909 in Guangdong, and in 1929 entered the Hangzhou National College of Art, studying painting with Lin Fengmian. The quality of his performance there brought him the opportunity to study in France in 1932, at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Beaux-Arts and in various studios there. He returned home in 1935, and taught at the Chongching National Normal School, the National Art Institute and Central Fine Arts Institute. In 1980 he held solo exhibitions in Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Nanjing, and Kunming, and "Hu Sanyu Oil Painting Collection" was published by the Shanghai People's Fine Arts Publishing House. In connection with that, the Shanghai Art Museum held a special large-scale retrospective, receiving broad critical approval. Hu's works are held in the collections of large organizations and private individuals.