ZAO Wou-Ki (1921-2013)

other possible identifications: attributed
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.


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 […]

The art market has never experienced such a sharp crisis. Within a matter of days, auctioneers around the world have been forced to postpone or even cancel their physical sales in order to comply with the health emergency restrictions. However, the art auction market is not at a complete standstill. Although very slow, activity continues […]

The gallery owners below were interviewed on March 10, 2020. The next day, Tefaf Maastricht announced the premature closure of the fair, five days before the scheduled date.  » In close consultation with the city of Maastricht, the health authorities, and MECC Maastricht, TEFAF has decided to shorten the fair and to close by the […]

After World War I, China implemented a major program of sending young talents to the other end of the world… and, very often, to the other end of the silk road, with the objective of ‘acquiring new knowledge’. The arts were just one of the many disciplines that these talented young Chinese students came to […]

In our 2019 global ranking of artists by auction turnover, China’s two top-selling artists are posting totals on a par with those of Western artists like Claude Monet and Andy Warhol. With a combined total of over $385 million this year, Zao Wou-ki and Zhang Daqian’s results have driven the market. Zhang Daqian, Strange Pines […]