ZAO WOU-KI (ZHAO WUJI, FRANCE/CHINA, 1920-2013)
PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT EUROPEAN COLLECTION
ZAO WOU-KI (ZHAO WUJI, FRANCE/CHINA, 1920-2013)

30.03.2006

Details
ZAO WOU-KI (ZHAO WUJI, FRANCE/CHINA, 1920-2013)
30.03.2006
signed in Chinese; signed and dated ‘ZAO 2006’ (lower right); signed in Chinese; signed ‘ZAO’ (on the stretcher)
oil on canvas
97 x 130 cm. (38 1/4 x 51 1/8 in.)
Painted in 2006
Provenance
Private Collection, Europe (acquired directly from the artist by the present owner)

This work is referenced in the archive of the Foundation Zao Wou-Ki and will be included in the artist's forthcoming catalogue raisonne prepared by Francoise Marquet and Yann Hendgen (Information provided by Foundation Zao Wou-Ki).

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

" I OFTEN FIND MYSELF THINKING OVER QUESTIONS SUCH AS HOW TO PAINT THE WIND, OR HOW TO CAPTURE THE BRIGHT PURITY OF LIGHT. I DON'T WANT TO EXPRESS NATURE, BUT RATHER TO JUXTAPOSE IMAGES AND COMBINE THEM IN SUCH A WAY THAT PEOPLE CAN SEE IN THEM HOW THE AIR FORMS RIPPLES ON THE STILL SURFACE OF WATER. I WANT TO CREATE NEW COLOURS, NEW SPACES, TO CREATE A FEELING OF LIGHTNESS AND GRACEFULNESS. I WANT TO GIVE PEOPLE SOMETHING NOVEL, SOMETHING GRACEFUL THAT TOUCHES THEIR FEELINGS." -ZAO WOU-KI

The source of Zao Wou-ki's inspiration begins with rippling waves, floating mists, and all the beauty of nature. In the blue that he derives from, he further sublimates the pictorial space of the canvas. Zao once said, "Every day I would linger by the side of the lake (West Lake in Hangzhou), and never tired of it. I was fascinated by the endless changes I saw in nature along with the changes of the hours or the seasons. The tossing of the waves, the quick shifts in light, the mists between the waters and the sky all left me enchanted. Often I'd sit at the lakeside for hours, watching the light breezes rippling the surface of the water and rustling the birch and maple leaves. What I saw was not the ornately carved bridges or pavilions beside the lake, or the reflections of bamboo leaves in the water. What I was looking for was space: its extensions and foldings, and the endless varieties of blue that can occur in the reflection of one tiny leaf on the water."

By 2006, when Zao was in his eighties, the feeling of surging and intense waves of energy in his paintings. Instead, with a sense of inner calm and composure, and with greater ease and confidence in his technique, he displayed all the colour harmonies that could be embraced within a single tonality. In 30.03.2006 (Lot 29), light, wispy lines in brown or black are very lightly brushed against the blue background of the work. Within its sense of penetrating light, the lines stretch across the canvas like wisps of smoke, ink, or wind. As it is seen from a distance, like the folds of a mountain range, their rhythmical movements instantly produce the sense of a vast panorama. Imperceptible shifts occur within the vast expanse of pastel blue, projecting a subtle, graceful, and lofty atmosphere. The German Romanticism ar t i st Caspar David Fr i edri ch, i n painting his grand and tranquil vistas of nature, excelled at the use of complex colour relationships and regions layered in darker and lighter tones. Zao Wouki, likewise, brings a subtle sense of colour to his work, while his pictorial space conveys a more soft and gentle lightness, communicating his intent to create a new kind of abstract space.

Like Monet, an artist whom he greatly admired, Zao Wou-ki also returned near the end of a long artistic career to the basic sources of painting and the fundamental spirit of his culture. Through its pure colours, basic lines, and its exploration of atmosphere, what 30.03.2006 conveys most is the sheer joy in which the artist was always immersed when painting.
;

More from First Open | Hong Kong

View All
View All