ZAO Wou-Ki

Other possible identifications: attributed, after, manner

Zao Wou-Ki was a painter and engraver who was born in Beijing in 1920. He acquired French nationality in 1964 and died in the Swiss town of Nyon in 2013.

From a literary family, Wou-Ki entered the Hangzhou School of Fine Arts when he was fourteen and pursued a traditional academic curriculum, excelling in calligraphy. At the age of 27, he decided to pursue his studies in Paris. Initially influenced by Paul Klee, his painting soon moved towards abstraction while clearly showing affinities with the Abstract Expressionism he encountered during a visit to New York in the 1950s. Rapidly appreciated in Europe, a friend of Pierre Soulages, Joan Miró and Henri Michaux, Wou-Ki successfully combined his Oriental heritage with the artistic and poetic ambitions of Western lyrical abstraction. Fond of large formats, often in the form of polyptychs, his paintings were veritable explosions of shape and colour. In market terms, Zao Wou-ki’s works have been mostly exchanged in France, but his most spectacular paintings are usually offered in Hong Kong. In 2018, Christie’s Hong Kong sold his giant triptych June-October 1985 for over $65 million.


Hong Kong plays a key role in Sotheby’s global fine art auction activity, generating almost a quarter of its global annual turnover. In 2020, the American company was the best performing fine art auctioneer in Asia as a whole, taking $563 million in the region. This week, Sotheby’s Hong Kong closed eight “Spring sales”. We […]

Christie’s last major sale of the year in Hong Kong was heavily dependent on SAN Yu (1901-1966). On Wednesday, 2 December, Christie’s hosted a multi-period international sale of 20th Century Art featuring works by artists from all the great nations of the global art market. From ZAO Wou-Ki to Joan MITCHELL, from Yayoi KUSAMA to […]

December’s art sales will mark the last salvo of what has been – despite everything – an extraordinary year on the art auction market. Artprice takes a quick look at the most eagerly awaited works on offer as the year’s end approaches. Christie’s Hong Kong… 2 December Visits started on 21 November in New York […]

“The inspiration I have followed finds its only source in nature… and its preferred mode of expression is lyricism.” Chu Teh-Chun The poet of pictorial abstraction Chu Teh-Chun would have been 100 years old this year and current tributes are – like his work – grandiose! To mark the occasion, a new documentary film retracing […]

Like a lot of sectors, the global art market has been seriously impacted by the Covid 19 crisis, forcing auction companies to cancel or postpone sales. However, thanks to online sales, its activity did not grind to a complete halt. In this article Artprice focuses on the best results hammered during the lockdown, when a […]