Xu Beihong was born in Jiangsu, China in 1895. He enrolled in the French Department of Aurora University (currently merged with Fudan University) in Shanghai in 1916, working and studying at the same time while also self-studying drawing. In 1917, Xu travelled to Japan to study Western art, returning soon after to become an art instructor at Peking University. He subsequently left for France in 1919, enrolling in the National School of Fine Arts (École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris) in the following year. In 1927, Xu returned to China, taking on various academic positions: Dean of the Art Department at Nanguo Fine Arts College in Shanghai, Professor of the Art Department at the National Central University (now Nanjing University), and Dean of the Beiping Art College (now Peking University). With the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Xu served as the Chairman of the Chinese Artists’ Association as well as the President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts.
From October 1928 to January 1929, Xu Beihong served as the Dean of Beiping Art College (now Peking University). At the same time, Yang Zhongzi was the Dean of the Music Department. Yang's wife, Yang Yani (Jenny) was a French professor at the public department of the university. In this painting, the Yang family is dressed in Western attire. Their son, Yang Xiaoshi (Chinese, 1923-2017), would later become one of the founders of the English Department at the Shanghai International Studies University.