Zao Wou-Ki 趙無極
Chinese-French, 1921-2013
High auction record
HKD $203m, Christie's, 2017
Blue chip
Represented by internationally recognized galleries.
Collected by major museums
Tate, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields
Selected exhibitions
Zao Wou-Ki: Watercolor - Ink on Paper - Porcelain,
Marlborough Gallery
No Limits: Zao Wou-Ki,
Asia Society
Zao Wou-Ki — A Memorial Exhibition, works from 1947 - 2008,
Tina Keng Gallery

A master of postwar art and the highest-selling Chinese painter of his generation, Zao Wou-ki applied Modernist art-making techniques to traditional Chinese literati painting. Zao moved to Paris in 1948, rejected his Chinese heritage, and immediately began painting in the style of Paul Klee, whose own style was influenced by Chinese landscape painting. By 1954, Zao had developed a unique style that was marked by contrasting colors and lyrical abstraction and that merged Chinese art, as viewed through the lens of European abstraction, with traditional Chinese landscapes. Zao remained wary of objectively Chinese-influenced art and avoided using ink for much of his career, preferring to work with oil paints in a calligraphic style. Like traditional Chinese landscape painting, Zao’s paintings function as fragments of a larger scene, possessing fluidity, transparency, and a graceful …

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