Untitled signed 'Zao Wou-Ki' (lower right) and further signed and dated 'Zao Wou-Ki/28.3.63' (on the reverse) oil on canvas 129.5 x 96.5cm (51 x 38in).
This work has been authenticated by the artist and will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné currently under preparation.
"Everybody is bound by a tradition, I am bound by two".
The oeuvre of Zao Wou Ki defies Rudyard Kiplings polarisation of the cultural world of the East and West by synthesising, indeed harmonising the two artistic traditions. In his early works Chinese signs are imbued with poetic lines reminiscent of Klee, while others clearly show the influence of Hartung, Ripolle, Soulages and Michaux. The aim of this fusion was to express nature in its fullness, an ethos derived from his early training at the School of Fine Arts at Hangchow which emphasized the importance of modern Western painting alongside that of traditional Chinese art.
In this untitled work the central motif is dissolved in a swirling structure of light. Liberated from the restraints associated with depicting form, Zao Wou Kis work is a total expression of freedom.
Zao Wou Ki began his training at the School of Fine Arts in Hangzhou, before enrolling at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1948, where he studied under Emile Othon. In 1949 his subtle and beautiful landscapes came to the attention of Giacometti, Leger, Miro and Picasso through his one man exhibition at Galerie Creuze, Paris. Now a member of the Academie des Beaux Arts, Zao Wou Kis work has been the focal point of over 400 exhibitions and he is now considered one of the most successful abstract painters working today.