Zao Wou-Ki

Zao Wou-Ki

Zao Wou-Ki was lauded throughout his career for his ability to unite multiple artistic traditions within a single work, marrying Eastern and Western approaches to art-making through his abstract compositions that retained hints of his training as a landscape painter. Zao was born in Peking (Beijing) in 1920 and began to study at National Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou at the age of 15. In 1948, the artist moved to Paris, where he would live for the rest of his life, and soon began to exhibit internationally.

Zao worked predominantly in oils, watercolor, and ink, but also experimented with engraving and lithography. While formally trained in traditional Chinese techniques, Zao’s early encounters with the work of Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Paul Cézanne, as well as his friendship with Henri Michaux, greatly influenced and expanded his creative endeavors.

Zao was a member of the esteemed Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 2006, French President Jacques Chirac bestowed the artist with France’s highest civil rank, the Legion of Honor. During his lifetime, Zao was the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at institutions in North America and Europe, including the Musée d’art contemporain in Montréal in 1969, the Grand Palais in Paris in 1981, the Hong Kong Museum of Art in 1996, and the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris in 2003. Since his death in 2013, the artist’s oeuvre has been celebrated with retrospectives at the Asia Society, New York (2016–17), and the Musée d’art moderne de las Ville de Paris (2018–19). Zao’s work may be found in museum collections worldwide, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Tate Modern, London; and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, among others.


Selected Works

  • 27-10-1981 (detail of)
    Oil on canvas
    39 3/8 x 31 7/8 inches (100 x 81 cm)



The Meeting of Edgard Varèse and Charlie Paker

March 22, 2017

Special concert led by Peter Evans, in celebration of the exhibition 'Willem de Kooning | Zao Wou-Ki.'


Other Exhibitions

Selected Press

99y | 是什么在支撑着赵无极的市场神话?

November 6, 2019

尽管赵无极擅长学习中国书法,但他最初还是试图拒绝这些传统,并以更纯粹的欧洲风格进行创作。在和他的中国传统达成和解之后,赵无极开始受到古老中国方块字的启发,进而转向他的“甲骨文(oracle …

Artsy | What’s Fueling Zao Wou-Ki’s Art Market Boom

November 6, 2019

Although well-schooled in Chinese calligraphy, Zao initially tried to reject those conventions and work …

The Art Newspaper | Guggenheim Deaccessions Work by Zao Wou-Ki as the Market for the Artist Swells

February 1, 2019

Following a $65m sale of the Chinese modernist's work in October, Sotheby's will offer an untitled work …

Artsy | The 20 Most Expensive Artworks Sold at Auction in 2018

December 24, 2018

While the auction landscape this year didn’t have a blockbuster on the scale of 2017 when Leonardo …

Bloomberg | Record Sale of $65 Million Zao Painting Yields 2,735% Return

September 30, 2018

An abstract oil painting by Chinese-French master Zao Wou-Ki changed hands for HK$510.4 million ($65.2 …

Hamptons Art Hub | Readers Choice: Most Popular 15 Stories in 2017

December 27, 2017

On view through March 11, 2017, Willem de Kooning|Zao Wou-Ki featured more than 20 paintings from the …

591HX | 谁推动了香港拍场的赵无极热 [Who’s behind the Zao Wou-Ki Boom at the Hong Kong Auctions?]

October 24, 2017

See PDF for English translation.

Artnet | Levy Gorvy's plans to collaborate with the Zao Wou-Ki Foundation

June 8, 2017

自2016年年底,佳士得战后及当代艺术部门的主席及国际主管Brett Gorvy宣布离开供职23年的拍卖行,并将与世界顶级当代艺术经纪人之一的Dominique …

Wall Street International | Zao Wou-Ki

February 13, 2017

Lévy Gorvy is pleased to present the first exhibition ever to pair the abstract landscapes of Chinese-French …

Hamptons Art Hub | ART REVIEW: De Kooning and Zao Wou-Ki Paintings Trace Paths to Abstraction

February 7, 2017

East meets West is an ancient theme in the arts: Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” and

Cultured | Second Act

February 1, 2017

It might not be known to those who aren’t involved in the art market, but some of the biggest collectors …

Artnet | Lévy Gorvy Demonstrates Art World Clout at Inaugural New York Exhibition

January 20, 2017

A little over a month after the formation of what is predicted to be one of the most formidable art dealer …

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