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 friendships with Henri Michaux and Paul Klee, greatly influenced and expanded his creative endeavors.

Zao was a member of the esteemed Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 2006, former French President Jacques Chirac bestowed the artist with France’s highest accolade, the Legion of Honor. During his lifetime, Zao exhibited at the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris (2003) and the Musée national des beaux arts du Québec (2008). The artist died in Switzerland in 2013. In 2016 he was posthumously celebrated with a retrospective at the Asia Society Museum, New York. Zao’s work is part of the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Tate Modern, London, in addition to many other institutions.


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

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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