The authenticity of this work has kindly been confirmed by the artist.
Successfully bridging East and West, Zao Wou-Ki's paintings are a marriage between traditional Chinese landscape painting and Western abstraction. Identifying in each seemingly disparate realm, a coexistence with nature, the artist forged his art from this common point of genesis, simultaneously opening new paths for the development of Chinese painting and staking out his place in the international avant-garde in the lineage of painters such as Paul Cezanne and Paul Klee.
In order to ensure that viewers responded directly to the meanings of his work without reference to any extraneous factors, Zao began inscribing the date of a painting's completion on its reverse side and taking it as the name of the work in 1959. At this time, he also began to limit his palette to a few hues with the effect of fiercely concentrated simplicity. With a practiced, flowing brushstroke purely his own, Zao expressed his debt to Chinese calligraphy but also to the gestural brand of painting that occupied the West. In heavily encrusted paintings, he began to layer paint with a palette knife in the tradition of Gustave Courbet and Cezanne, and scrape the excess off the canvas with the wooden handle of the brush, creating fine lines in the midst of broad brushstrokes, and enriching the textural beauty of his work. His alternately rough, intense, imposing brushwork spread across the surface like bursts of light, waves of water, expanses of sky and terrains of earth. The painter's mood was also revealed, alternatively elated, sober, and restrained. Universal nature vibrated through the outpouring of his feelings. His work embodied the great Song Dynasty saying, 'To find within the great universe one small patch of ground in which all its wonders are implied'.