Aquatint, ed. 25/99
22 1/2 x 16 1/4 inches
Signed Lower Right
Zao Wou-ki, one of the few Chinese-born painters to be considered a master of 20th-century modern art in the West, died at his home in Switzerland on Tuesday. He was 92. His death was reported by the French news media and confirmed by a dealer who worked closely with him.
Mr. Zao, who was born in Beijing in 1921, moved to France in 1948, just before the 1949 Communist takeover of China. He became a French citizen in 1964.
Mr. Zao's abstract works — influenced by both European abstraction and traditional Chinese brushwork — quickly drew the attention of galleries in New York and Paris, where he was regularly showing by the 1950s. He befriended contemporaries like Alberto Giacometti and Joan Miró.
Considered one of the School of Paris artists, Mr. Zao was lauded in his adopted country, which held retrospectives of his works at major venues like the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais (1981), the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume (2003) and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (2008). His works are also in the collections of museums such as the Tate in London and the Guggenheim in New Y ork.
By the 2000s, newly affluent Chinese collectors were taking a greater interest in paintings by Mr. Zao, even though he was elderly and in ill health and had stopped producing new work in any significant quantity. His most prized pieces had been collected decades earlier by buyers who were loath to let them go.
In October 2011, Chinese buyers vied for an abstract 1968 painting that sold at Sotheby's in Hong Kong for a record- breaking 68.98 million Hong Kong dollars, or about $8.8 million.
biography from the archives of askART.com