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Z AO W O U - K I WAT E R C O L O R . I N K O N PA P E R . P O R C E L A I N

Z AO W O U - K I WAT E R C O L O R . I N K O N PA P E R . P O R C E L A I N

March 15th - April 14th, 2018

4 0 W E ST 57 TH STR E E T | N E W YO R K | 1 0 01 9 212 541 4900 | MARLBOROUGHGALLERY.COM

SOUL LANDSCAPES As intimate and personal works on paper by artist Zao Wou-Ki (19202013), the pieces currently on display at Marlborough Gallery in New York provide some clarity on two of the topics of discussion that frequently come up concerning this extraordinary artist. It has long been said that Zao Wou-Ki was an alchemist working between two traditions: the Eastern and the Western, blending Chinese calligraphy with the principles of Abstract Expressionism’s action painting or the European informalism that he encountered in Paris. For example, since 1960, Zao Wou-Ki’s work has been closer to Lyrical Abstraction, a pictorial movement in contrast with Constructivism or Geometric Abstraction. Lyrical Abstraction is linked to Art Informel, a movement that brought together all of the gestural trends that developed in post-World War II Paris. Zao Wou-Ki’s art has also been characterized as creating an intriguing fusion of different societies, joining two different traditions to create a new and unique artistic style. More recently it has been said that he was an “artist who combined the art of the East and the West with a technique like that of a poet, or of Georges de La Tour’s works in light and shadow.” 1 Only Julia Grimes had a different view, in the obituary on CNN (April 12, 2013), aptly pointing out: “An artist friend once asked about my research. Hearing that I studied Zao Wou-Ki, he grew suddenly pensive. “Zao Wou-Ki,” he mused, “his work isn’t representative of either Chinese or French art.” “Yes,” I answered. “He represents himself, and that is enough.” 2 The works exhibited here show us a Zao Wou-Ki as unique master, with a ductus--the calligraphic term for the direction, number and sequence of strokes that work together to create a character and sense of color that are fundamentally his own, “propriis coloribus”, as Albert Dürer said of his self-portrait at the Munich Pinakothek. Zao Wou-Ki was a man who was educated in China and who found himself in Paris after the war, but who made paintings that were his own: the paintings

1. 2. 3. 4.

of an educated and cosmopolitan man. The artist’s insistence on maintaining his personal identity and aesthetic despite the whims of borders and time is well known. Zao Wou-Ki is not “Occidental d’adoption et Chinois de coeur, qui a façonné sa peinture” [“Western by adoption, Chinese at heart, who has shaped his own art”] as Jean-Paul Desroches recently described him, an “homme des deux rives” [“A man between two shores”], rather, he is an international artist with a cosmopolitan vision. 3 In an interview with France Huser, the artist himself was asked the question: “Do you consider yourself a Chinese painter?” He responded, “What does that mean? I detest Chinoiserie! The Tang and Song dynasties taught me about both space and economy of gesture. I like that Chinese tension, that rejection of charlatanry. But it was Cézanne who gave me permission to be Chinese again, while Matisse taught me about light, color.” 4 Zao Wou-Ki is a master who exists outside the mainstream. He is a painter’s painter, as Cai Guo Qiang could be said to be currently. He is not just a Chinese painter, but also an international one, as those from Altamira or Lascaux may have been in their day. This is why his work is admired and collected worldwide, attracting audiences across diverse cultures, tastes, and backgrounds. His work is frequently compared with the work of Henri Michaux, and occasionally with that of Mark Tobey. We might also add Julius Bissier. Zao Wou-Ki moved to France in 1948, a year before the revolution in communist China (obtaining French citizenship in 1964). He is considered a part of the School of Paris. But other than the regular use of Chinese ink, his art has nothing to do with Michaux’s calligraphic play, or the musicality of Tobey’s marks. Zao Wou-Ki does not distance himself from the Chinese ink-painting traditions nor does he submerge himself in European informalism. His iconography, which is a part

Celine Desclaux, “René Char, lorsque poésie rime avec peinture”, DUMAS, March 26, 2015, https://dumas.ccsd.cnrs.fr/dumas-01136091. Julia Grimes, “Zao Wou-ki: Painting beyond words (1920-2013),” CNN, April 12, 2013, http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/11/opinion/painter-zao-wou-ki. François Marquet-Zao, Yann Hendgen, Sophie Cazé, Eric Lefebvre, Jean-Paul Desroches, and Gilles Chazal, Zao Wou-Ki collectionneur: L’homme des deux rives, (Paris: Flammarion 2016). France Huser, “Brève rencontre avec... Zao Wou-Ki,” Le Nouvel Observateur, no. 2034, October 30, 2003

of all of his abstract works, is a personal landscape. It is not action painting. It is not an unconsciously revealed simple expression of the state of the soul, and it is not drip painting. We know that Zao Wou-Ki, like the Impressionists, painted nature, working from direct observation on subjects such as extravagant flowers or tangled branches. Regardless of this however, all of his painting represents a symphonic landscape born from deep within the self. Zao Wou-Ki’s art looks outward from the singularity of the self, to encode a landscape of the soul. Unlike Michaux or Tobey, Zao Wou-Ki does not paint from his wrist, staying close to the easel, but rather from his arm, at some distance from the surface. This is evident in the energy of his brushstrokes. It is especially apparent in the works on paper in this exhibit. Zao Wou-Ki discovered New York in 1957 on a trip with French artist Pierre Soulages, and ever since, the city and its vertical landscape have been present in his work. The exhibition consists of 18 works of ink on paper, 17 richly pigmented watercolors, and eight pieces in porcelain painted with enamel. There are two distinct periods, works from the 70s and the early 80s, and works from the period between 2003-2007. The ink pieces, in simple Chinese ink or washes, are on rice paper, with some mounted on additional paper. The watercolors are on harder and thicker paper. Among the 17 watercolors, there are three from 19791982. These have a strong sense of panorama, of landscapes with a horizon in the background. One of them is blue with a storm-like gray area superimposed on it, resembling a Leonardo da Vinci vision of mountains enshrouded in storm clouds. The oldest one, from 1970, is the most melancholy of the pieces on exhibit, while the works created after 2003 are more like explosions of color. They are more organic, like frontal landscapes, or as if seen under a microscope. The watercolors play an important role in Zao Wou-Ki’s work in that they offer a degree of spontaneity and translucency that he could not achieve with oil on canvas. Two ink drawings from 1984 look more like landscapes, one horizontal

and the other vertical. In another, from 1984, the ink drops explode like meteorites. Several of the large works are horizontal landscapes like those of painter and calligrapher Shitao, whose original name was Ruoji Zhu (1642-1707), they have long strokes, and many varied ink marks. We can see the same kinds of marks on the porcelain pieces as on the works on paper, some with simple black ink and others with colored pigments that embrace the volumetric form as if they extended across paper. Zao Wou-Ki has alternated between oil on canvas and printmaking, and also sometimes worked with paint on ceramic as with his vases and bowls. The artist created a series of plates in 1979 for the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres and in 2007 he developed new collections of these plates and vases, unique original pieces. The exhibit clearly shows the many facets of this exploration. The porcelain pieces in the exhibit are related to the 14 stained glass windows of the Prieuré Saint-Cosme in Tours created in 2010. In them we see a painter of the wind and of serenity, of lake water and at the same time of its restless calm. The works on paper show Zao Wou-Ki’s masterful control of mark making mixed with that spontaneous fluidity that drives the movement of the brush and the ink stroke. The fluidity of the ink in the drawings is the result of a unique process: his ongoing daily workout with the brush, and the way lines are placed on damp paper, making the marks swiftly and confidently. The artist has explored the world of the image as rhythmic composition, where small energetic brushstrokes are balanced with soft, broadly applied washes. Zao Wou-Ki allows the colors to spill and extend across the surface of the paper, exploring subtle effects using only a few soft gray and indigo tones, diluting his pigments with water. Areas of light appear in the interspaces, between the painted and unpainted surfaces of the paper. Light structures his compositions, one way or another. That play between light and shadow creates the sense of visual drama. The preoccupation with spontaneity and with the naturalness of gesture have led Zao Wou-Ki to focus on technique, on technical mastery not only of his brushstroke but his knowledge of pigments, and the actual physical predisposition. In 1969, René de Solier asked Zao Wou-Ki


about his favorite colors. His answer was: “I love all colors. I do not have favorite colors. I am sensitive, above all, to vibrations.” 5 But he has a deep fondness for ivory black, for its capacity to expand and to break down. He uses black not to describe but to capture light, and to make it vibrate. In his own words: “The black always crackles a little. The blues do not change at all. Ivory black is a troublesome color, as I found out at my own expense.”6 That vibration is not only achieved by the kinds of pigment, like ivory black, but also through painting technique, such as wet on wet, which creates a fluid energy in the work, organizing a space that is evocative of the elements of nature, and where the brushstroke is written or inscribed. In his monograph on the artist, critic Jean­Leymarie says: “This brief response is one of the keys of his paintings and of their mysterious glow. (…) In Zao Wou-Ki’s eyes, therefore, colors are not substances but radiations. They do not oppose the graphic work of art: they give light to space and describe the flow of that light.” 7 In these pieces, especially in the largest drawing on exhibit, Zao WouKi seeks to express an internal state in line with that of Shitao, the landscape artist and poet from the first part of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). Shitao focused on a subjective point of view and on negative space. His style revolutionized Chinese painting with a single brushstroke, breaking with traditional styles and with the style of his own time. His formal innovations in the representation of images, taken from reality, include the use of washes and bold and sometimes very long brushstrokes. His work shows an interest in a subjective perspective and the use of negative space (i.e., the blank space on paper) to suggest distance. Shitao moved among different points of reference, as does Zao WouKi in the twentieth century. In a colophon dated 1686, Shitao wrote: “In painting, there are the schools of the South and the North, in calligraphy, the Two Wangs’ methods (Wang Xizhi and his son Wang Xianzhi). The painter Zhang Rong (443-497) once said: ‘I am not sorry not to have shared the Two Wangs’ methods, but that the Two Wangs

did not share my methods.’ If someone asks if I [Shitao] follow the School of the South or the North, or if any of those schools follow me, laughing, I scratch my belly and answer, ‘I always use my own method!’.” 8 Similarly, Zao Wou-Ki’s painting seeks truth to its own destiny; a tense but patient gaze, restless and steady, concentrating on the energy of the contact of the brush with the support, and on the explosive brevity of the moment, the power of an image and an affirmation of its self. Poetry as painting means to give in to the paper the way a meteor explodes, pulverized into something new, that the viewer or reader will then understand by pulling together all of its scattered elements, or by reweaving the frayed threads of the cloth. This is the title of a book by Zao Wou-Ki with the poet René Char: Effilage du sac de jute [Unraveling the Jute Bag]. 9 The idea of creating this work together began in 1975, but it took shape in a letter dated April 8, 1980 from René Char to Zao Wou-Ki. It was not published until many years after Char’s death and close to the death of Zao Wou-Ki. Jute cloth or canvas is a very dense fabric, made from natural fibers also called jute. It is a highly resistant yet flexible material, making it capable of supporting heavy weight. ‘Unraveling the jute bag’ is the result of a long reflection, as might be the union of their two art forms, as many other painters and poets have experienced. In his book La bestia de Lascaux [The Beast of Lascaux], essayist Maurice Blanchot highlights in René Char’s work a deep meditation on the relationship of poetic language, writing with time, and what is spoken without expectation of an answer, from the roots of song (such as blues or flamenco). For Blanchot, Char adds his language to the terrestrial roots of life (like the beast in the cave paintings of Lascaux) seeking knowledge in what can be perceived but not named. 10 For Zao Wou-Ki as well, his own profession of painting is a quest for the unnamable. He has described his pictorial goal this way: “I want to paint that which is not visible.” 11 Or more precisely “I wanted to paint that which is not visible - breath, life, wind, movement, the life of shapes,

5. René de Solier, “Zaowou-ki,” La Société La Vie des Arts, no. 56, Autumn 1969, pp. 50-53. 6. Pierre Schneider, Louvre Dialogues, (New York: Atheneum, 1971), pp. 299-320. 7. Jean-Marie Leymarie, Zao Wou-Ki, trans. Kenneth Lyons (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1979) p. 44. 8. Jonathan Hay, Shitao: Painting and Modernity in Early Qing China. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001) p. 84. 9. René Char and Zao Wou-Ki, Effilage du sac de jute, (Paris: Gallimard, 2011). 10. Maurice Blanchot. La bête de Lascaux, trans. Alberto Ruiz de Samaniego (Madrid: Ed. Tecnos, 1999). 11. Zao Wou-Ki, (Paris: Flammarion, 2009) p. 12.


blooms of colors and their fusion.” 12 Painting, from his perspective, through his action on canvas or paper, is his vital writing: ma manière d’écrire mon journal, “my way of writing my diary”; and therefore, from the results, from the analysis, the artist concludes: “I transcribe an emotion whose meaning I do not try to penetrate.” 13 As Zao Wou-Ki has said, he is a painter’s painter, but also a poet’s painter. Many poets have written about his work, including René Char (1907-1988), Roger Caillois (1913-1978), Claude Roy (1915-1997), or Yves Bonnefoy (1923-2016). “Zao Wou-Ki et les Poètes” [Zao Wou-Ki and the Poets] is the title of speech given by Dominique de Villepin, former Prime Minister of France, at the opening of the exhibit “Dans l’empire des signes” [In the Empire of Signs] at the Fondation Bodmer in Cologny, Switzerland (December 5, 2015). 14 In the introduction to the exhibition catalog for Zao Wou-Ki’s show at the Galerie de France in Paris in 1975, René Char described his relationship with the painter this way: “My reactions to Zao Wou-Ki’s work are of three kinds. First there is a profound identification with the graphic quality of his earliest work, with its elusively beckoning, almost nomadic color and the forms obediently following the painter’s hand, travelling distances the enduring importance of which has been revealed to us by a remote and ancient art. Then the interruption of this initial dialogue leads to the discovery of a second level of chaos which seems to be on the verge of flowing into a shape that spreads along the edges of deep abysses. These are calling to him, but he remains suspended in the edge. And at this point the aerial and telluric spell of the wandering Orpheus makes its impact. All the separate elements in his work are constantly interacting, like a transient demarcation line, that line in the evening that separates the colors in a tumultuous whole.” 15 Zao Wou-Ki’s personal vocabulary is highly subjective. In all parts, the narrative is imbued with energy, sometimes sexual, but it is also a personal vocabulary of codified history. In the 1950s, Zao Wou-Ki was fascinated with the writing on oracle bones, the etching on animal bones or turtle shells during the Shang Dynasty, and the oldest known form of Chinese writing dating to 1500 BCE. These pieces were found 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

at the Yinxu site (what is today Anyang, in Henan province). Zao WouKi created works with simple figures that are evocative of petroglyphs, expressing his interest in capturing the fundamental essence of these shapes. But he also tells us: “Picasso taught me how to draw like Picasso, but Cézanne taught me to look at Chinese nature. I admired Modigliani, Renoir, Matisse. But it was Cézanne who helped me to find myself, to find myself as a Chinese painter.” 16 On another occasion he tells us: “To teach me to read, my grandfather carved the characters to describe them into each object: I learned to read and draw at the same time, and to apprehend the very nature of things. In calligraphy, each character is a sign. Look at these ideograms: this one represents the sky, that one the heart. Paul Klee also used signs that led him from the memory of a small Tunisian port to go beyond appearances.” 17 When encoutering a series of ink drawings and watercolors full of fleeting signs and elements from nature, we see elements in constant motion: vapors, exhalations, breath, clouds, etc. One can become confused by the quality of Zao Wou-Ki’s techniques to capture them, the extension of the colors, the vigor and clarity of the chromatism, the play of the ink and light. Pierre Cabanne writes: “The dazzling color renderings and continuous fine lines in Zao Wou-Ki’s work are striking, yet they still provide a sense of consolation. The fluid and free dynamic brushstrokes and the varying deep and shallow spaces within its composition make his work not just a landscape painting anymore, but the movement of the universe, the origin of the world, and the first light emerging from Chaos.” 18 Zao Wou-Ki studied both Chinese oracle bone scripts and Paul Klee’s drawings, as well as the polyptychs or altarpieces of European religious art and the silk panels from ancient Eastern art. He did not seek his narrative qualities in a single theme, rather he focused on line and gesture, and on the mood, be it of the atmosphere, be it of daydreams, that is encoded on his canvas. In his words: “How do I represent the wind? How do I paint the void? And light, with its glow, its purity? I didn’t want to reproduce, but rather to juxtapose shapes, joining them so that we could find the breath of air in the calm of the water.”

Françoise Marquet, Zao Wou-Ki, Autoportrait. (Paris: Fayard, 1988) p.117. Zao Wou-Ki, Zao Wou-Ki: Couleurs et mots, (Paris: Le Cherche-Midi, 2013) pp. 95-96. Dominique de Villepin, Zao Wou-Ki et les Poètes, (Paris: Albin Michel, 2015). Leymarie, Zao Wou-Ki, p. 49. Irene Salas, Françoise Marquet and Yann Hendgen, “Entretien sur Zao Wou-Ki. Un Tao de la peinture?” Critique, no. 766, March 2011, pp.205-217. Huser, “Brève rencontre avec... Zao Wou-Ki,” Le Nouvel Observateur, no. 2034, October 30, 2003. Pierre Cabanne, “A Review of Retrospective Zao Wou-Ki,” Artist Magazine, Taipei, 1993, p. 442.


The only way to do it is the way the poet does: the path that leads to the wholeness of the painting is internal personal harmony, the thing that helps you to find your place, and the pictorial roadmap. And that way the mark (the artist’s mark) becomes classical music, painted at its tempo, with its rhythms and harmonic cadences, with movement through precisely rendered lines and brushstrokes. One of the painter-poet’s memories is the smooth surface of the lake in the city where he went to study fine arts, West Lake in Hangzhou. He said, recalling the landscape: “I prefer the nearly still surface of lakes, which hides mystery and gives birth to an infinite variety of colors…Each day of my adolescence, I walked around its shore, never tiring, absorbed by the ever-changing spectacle of nature, depending on the time of day or the changing seasons.” 19 Like his poet friend Char, the painter Zao Wou-Ki knows with certainty that in these ink on rice paper drawings or the vibrantly colored watercolors, the silent landscapes come from within: 20

Zao Wou-Ki is very interested in space and rhythm, in the musicality of the atmosphere, in the rhythm of the landscapes that appear on these sheets of paper. His mark cuts through silence and darkness like a lightning bolt. His works are pure image, a presence that comes to us from the depths of the unknown. They are illuminations. Landscape is seen as a vast canvas, or as infinite watercolors and ink drawings, where the painter plants his signs the way the poet leaves his words on sheets of paper. Watercolors and ink drawings of unspoken things, where light appears as the unspoken and the uninked. As silence. Soul landscapes.

Kosme de Barañano

former director of the Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno in Valencia, Spain

The intensity is silent. His imagery is not. (I love what dazzles me and then accentuates the darkness inside me.) And Zao Wou-Ki also knows that, as Char had written, in painting as in poetry: 21 “…one inhabits only the place that one leaves, one creates only the work that one moves away from, permanence can only be obtained with the gift of time.” Thus these watercolors and ink drawings are born as poems. They are pure poetic song, in part coming from deep inside the self (like cante hondo, like the blues), and in part from a distance, the distance created by the arm that splashes the pigment on the paper. Once the landscape is drawn, once the meteorite of the heart has shattered, the painter moves away. The date the piece was made usually accompanies the signature. 22

19. Claude Roy, Zao Wou-Ki, (Paris: Le musée de poche, 1970) pp. 73-74. 20. René Char, “Rougeur des Matinaux”, Les Matinaux, (Paris: Gallimard, 1964) p. 81. 21. René Char, Recherche de la base et du sommet, (Paris: Gallimard, 1965) p. 104. 22. Zao Wou-Ki uses the end date of each painting as a title, which leaves space for the imagination when the observer interprets abstract works or not. He also writes his signature in Mandarin Chinese and in Pinyin, the standard Romanization system of Chinese.



Untitled, 2006 watercolor on paper 26 x 40 1/8 in., 66 x 102 cm

Untitled, 2005 India ink on rice paper mounted on paper 27 3/8 x 32 1/4 in., 69.5 x 82 cm

Untitled, 2005 watercolor on paper 14 1/8 x 20 in., 36 x 51 cm 12

Untitled, 2003 ink and ink wash on paper 11 5/8 x 14 3/8 in., 29.8 x 36.6 cm 13

Untitled, 1986 watercolor on paper 9 7/8 x 12 3/4 in., 25.1 x 32.4 cm 14

Untitled, 1996 ink on paper 12 5/8 x 15 1/2 in., 32.3 x 39.5 cm 15

Untitled, 2007 watercolor on paper 27 1/2 x 39 1/4 in., 70 x 100 cm 16

Untitled, 2007 India ink on rice paper mounted on paper 23 3/8 x 22 5/8 in., 59.5 x 57.5 cm 17

Untitled, 2005 watercolor on paper 22 3/8 x 29 7/8 in., 57 x 76 cm 18

Untitled, 2002 ink and ink wash on paper 16 3/4 x 18 3/8 in., 42.7 x 46.8 cm 19

Untitled, 1979 watercolor on paper 20 3/8 x 25 3/4 in., 52 x 65.5 cm 20

Untitled, 1984 ink and ink wash on paper 25 1/2 x 26 3/4 in., 65 x 68 cm 21

Untitled, 2006 watercolor on paper 22 3/8 x 30 in., 57 x 76.5 cm 22

Untitled, 2005 India ink on rice paper mounted on paper 18 1/8 x 24 1/4 in., 46 x 61.5 cm 23

Untitled, 2007 watercolor on paper 25 x 37 1/8 in., 63.5 x 94.5 cm 24

Untitled, 2005 ink on rice paper mounted on paper 18 7/8 x 23 1/4 in., 48 x 59 cm 25

Untitled, 2007 watercolor on paper 21 5/8 x 30 1/4 in., 55 x 77 cm 26

Untitled, 2005 India ink on rice paper mounted on paper 18 1/8 x 24 1/4 in., 46 x 61.5 cm 27

Untitled, 1979 watercolor on paper 22 3/4 x 30 5/8 in., 58 x 78 cm 28

Untitled, 2005 India ink on rice paper mounted on paper 22 5/8 x 23 3/8 in., 57.5 x 59.5 cm 29

Untitled, 2005 watercolor on paper 19 5/8 x 12 3/4 in., 50 x 32.5 cm 30

Untitled, 2005 ink on paper 17 7/8 x 24 1/4 in., 45.5 x 61.5 cm 31

Untitled, 1970 watercolor on paper 22 3/8 x 30 1/4 in., 57 x 77 cm 32

Untitled, 2005 India ink on rice paper on paper 18 1/8 x 24 1/4 in., 46 x 61.5 cm 33

Untitled - 13.06.2003, 2003 watercolor on paper 10 x 14 in., 25.3 x 35.5 cm 34

Untitled, 2005 India ink on paper 23 5/8 x 36 5/8 in., 60 x 93 cm 35

Untitled, 2006 watercolor on paper 29 7/8 x 22 in., 76 x 56 cm 36

Untitled, 2003 India ink on rice paper mounted on wove paper 16 3/4 x 19 in., 42.7 x 48.4 cm 37

Untitled - 14.06.2003, 2003 ink and watercolor on paper 17 7/8 x 12 1/8 in., 45.5 x 31 cm 38

Untitled, 1984 ink and ink wash on paper 14 1/4 x 9 3/8 in., 36.5 x 24 cm 39

Untitled, 2005 watercolor on paper 14 1/8 x 20 in., 36 x 51 cm 40

Untitled, 2006 India ink on rice paper on paper 38 1/4 x 37 in., 97 x 94 cm 41

Untitled, 2005 ink on rice paper 19 x 23 3/8 in., 48.5 x 59.5 cm 42


Hommage Ă Tou-Fou / Jardins impĂŠriaux, 2008 enamel on porcelain, edition of 8 21 5/8 x 13 3/4 x 13 3/4 in., 55 x 35 x 35 cm Le bleu des Ming, 2008 enamel on porcelain, edition of 8 21 5/8 x 13 3/4 x 13 3/4 in., 55 x 35 x 35 cm


RĂŞve dans le pavillon rouge, 2008 enamel on porcelain, edition of 8 12 1/4 x 7 1/2 x 7 1/2 in., 31 x 19 x 19 cm 45

Hommage Ă Tou-Fou /Remous de la lune, 2008 enamel on porcelain, edition of 8 6 3/4 x 10 1/4 x 10 1/4 in., 17 x 26 x 26 cm 46

Souvenir du Palais rouge, 2008 enamel on porcelain, edition of 8 6 7/8 x 10 3/8 x 10 3/8 in., 17.5 x 26.5 x 26.5 cm 47

Hommage Ă Tou-Fou / Promenade sur le lac MeĂŻ-pei, 2008 enamel on porcelain, edition of 8 21 5/8 x 13 3/4 x 13 3/4 in., 55 x 35 x 35 cm 48

Hommage Ă Li-Po / La chanson du vent Ă  travers les pins I, 2008 enamel on porcelain, edition of 8 16 7/8 x 6 3/4 x 6 3/4 in., 43 x 17 x 17 cm


Hommage Ă Li-Po / Les flots incessants du Yang-Tse, 2008 enamel on porcelain, edition of 8 16 7/8 x 6 3/4 x 6 3/4 in., 43 x 17 x 17 cm


Z AO WO U - K I 1920 1935

Born in Beijing, China on February 1, 1920 Studied traditional Chinese Painting: Western Perspective, and Calligraphy at The Fine Arts School of Hangzhou. Appointed as assistant professor (through 1941) 1948 Arrived in Paris, France 1983 Exhibited for the first time in China since 1948, in Beijing and Hangzhou, at the request of the Chinese Minister of Culture 2013 Died at age 93 at his home in Switzerland S E L E C T E D AWA R D S Foule Noire (1954) wins the 5th Honorable Mention at the Carnegie International of the Canergie Institute of Pittsburgh 1984 Elected Officier de la Légion d’Honneur, Paris, France 1993 Commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur, Paris, France Honorary Doctorate by the Chinese University in Hong Kong, China 1994 Praemium Imperiale Award for Painting, The Japanese Art Association, Tokyo, Japan 2002 Elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France 2003 Zao Wou-Ki is received at the French Academie des Beaux-Arts on November 26th 2006 Grand Officier de l’Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur, decorated by the French President, Jacques Chirac, on November 3rd, Palais de l’Elysée, Paris, France 1954

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS Infinites of Zao Wou-Ki, Asia University Museum of Modern Art, Taichung, Taiwan 2016 No Limits: Zao Wou-Ki, Asia Society Museum, New York, New York; traveled to Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine 2015 Zao Wou-Ki, la lumière et le souffle, Musée d’art de Pully, Pully, Switzerland Zao Wou-Ki, Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Martigny, Switzerland Zao Wou-Ki: Estampes – Peintures, Centre culturel de Chine à Paris, France 2013- Zao Wou-Ki: Retrospettiva 1920 – 2013, 2014 Pinacoteca comunale de Locarno, Locarno, Switzerland 2012 The Prints of Zao Wou-Ki, Oriental Art & Cultural Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Zao Wou-Ki: Beyond, FEAST Projects, Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong 2010 Zao Wou-Ki, Fundação Arpad Szenes, Lisbon, Portugal Zao Wou-Ki, Prieuré de Saint Cosme, Indre-et Loire, France 2009 Celebrating Zao Wou-Ki, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong Zao Wou-Ki. Entre ciel et terre. Aquarelles et encres, Fondation Folon, La Hulbe, Belgium Zao Wou-Ki : Céramiques et œuvres sur papier, Marlborough Monaco, Monte-Carlo, Monaco 2008 Zao Wou-Ki, Prints and Illustrated Books, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, France; traveled to Suzhou Museum, Suzhou City, China Zao Wou-Ki, L’Encre, l’eau, l’air, la couleur, Musée de l’Hospice Saint-Roch, Issoudun, France 2017

Zao Wou-Ki: Paper + China, Marlborough Gallery, New York, New York Zao Wou-Ki: Hommage à Riopelle et peintures récentes, Musée National des Beaux-arts du Québec, Québec, Canada 2007 Zao Wou-Ki, Paintings, Works on Paper, Ceramics 1947-2007, Chateau Musée de Nemours, France 2006 Black and White Dream - India Ink, Suzhou Museum, Suzhou City, China 2005 Zao Wou-Ki, Paintings and India Ink, 19482005, Espace Bellevue, Biarritz, France Paysages interieurs, 1947-2004, Palais Bénédictine, Fécamp, France 2004 Zao Wou-Ki, The Quest of Silence: Paintings, Musée des Beaux Arts, Dunkerque, France Prints and Illustrated Books, Musée du Dessin et de l’Estampe Originale, Gravelines, France Zao Wou-Ki, Homages, Musée Fabre, Montpellier, France Zao Wou-Ki, Bridgestone Museum of Art, Ishibashi Foundation, Tokyo, Japan 2003 Zao Wou-Ki, Retretti Art Center of Taidehalli, Helsinki, Finland Zao Wou-Ki: Recent Works, Marlborough Gallery, New York, New York Zao Wou-Ki, Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris, France Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong Zao Wou-Ki, Works from 1950 to 2000, Galerie Vanuxem, Paris, France 2002 Zao Wou-Ki, Rêve de nature, Château de Chenonceau, Chenonceaux, France 2001 Zao Wou-Ki, Institut Valenciá d’Art Modern, Centre Julio González, Valencia, Spain; traveled to Musée d’Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium Zao Wou-Ki, Recent India Ink, Institut Français, Barcelona, Spain

2000 Zao Wou-Ki, Fuji Television Gallery, Tokyo, Japan Recent India Ink, Galerie Marwan Hoss, Paris, France Zao Wou-Ki, Lin & Keng Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan Chine, la gloire des empereurs, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville, Paris, France 1999 Zao Wou-Ki, Works from 1948-1999, Lin & Keng Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan Zao Wou-Ki, Paintings of the Last 20 Years, Centre d’Art Plastiques, Royan, France 1998 Paintings, India Ink, Prints, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Angers, France Zao Wou-Ki, Retrospective, organized by Association Française d’Action Artistique, L’Oréal and the Shanghai Museum of Art, Shanghai, China; traveled to the Chinese Palace of Fine Arts, Beijing, China; and Palace of Fine Arts, Canton, China 1997 Lin & Keng Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan Zao Wou-Ki, J. Bastien Art, Brussels, Belgium Recent Paintings, Galerie Thessa Herold, Paris, France 1996 Zao Wou-Ki, A Retrospective, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan; traveled to the Museum of Arts, Hong Kong Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong F.I.A.C., Paris, France, represented by Galerie Jan Krugier, Geneva, Switzerland Zao Wou-Ki, Recent Works, J. Bastien Art, Brussels, Belgium Zao Wou-Ki, India Ink-1996: A Tribute to Pierre Matisse, Jan Krugier Gallery, New York, New York; traveled to Galerie KrugierDitesheim, Geneva, Switzerland 1995 Zao Wou-Ki, Retrospective, Caja de Ahorros, Saragossa, Spain Paintings from 1962 to 1993, Maison de la Culture, Nevers, France Ishibashi Museum of Art, Ishibashi Foundation, Kurume, Japan









Zao Wou-Ki, Cuarenta años de pintura, 1954-1994, Centro Cultural de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico Zao Wou-Ki Retrospective, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan Zao Wou-Ki, Recent Works, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong Zao Wou-Ki, Recent Paintings, Galerie Sapone, Nice, France Recent Paintings, Galerie Artcurial, Paris, France L’Encre, l’eau, l’air, Galerie Marwan Hoss, Paris, France Zao Wou-Ki, Oils and Watercolors, Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal, retrospective exhibition organized by the Association Française d’Action Artistique India Ink, Musée National, Luxembourg, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg Paintings, Château de Vianden, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg Retrospective of Zao Wou-Ki: Paintings (1955-1992), Centre Cultural Noroît, Arras, France Private Collection, 1955-1989, Vasarely Foundation, Aix-en-Provenance, France Prints, Galerie Artcurial, Paris, France Paintings and India Ink, Galerie Jan Krugier, Geneva, Switzerland Paintings, India Ink and Prints, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Tours, France Zao Wou-Ki, Ten Inks, Galerie Kutter, Luxembourg, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg Zao Wou-Ki, 1955-1988, Galerie Artcurial, Paris, France Zao Wou-Ki, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Metz, France Galerie Jan Krugier, Geneva, Switzerland Paintings, Fuji Television Gallery, Tokyo, Japan Galerie Kutter, Luxembourg, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg Zao Wou-Ki: Paintings, 1980-1985, Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, New York 52

India Ink, French Cultural Center, Rome, Italy 1985 Engravings, Galerie Artcurial, Paris, France Engravings, Galerie Editart D. Blanco, Geneva, Switzerland Galerie de France, Paris, France 1984 Zao Wou-Ki, Traces (India Ink), Jan Krugier Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland Zao Wou-Ki, 1984, Galerie de France, Paris, France 1983 National Museum of History, Taipei, Taiwan; exhibition traveled to the House of Culture, Tai-Nan and Prefectoral Library, Tai-Chung, Taiwan Zao Wou-Ki ou se Libérer du Connu, Musée Ingres, Montauban, France; traveled to Espace des Cordeliers, Châteauroux, France; the National Museum of Fine Arts, Beijing, China; and Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts, Hangzhou, China 1982 Paintings by Zao Wou-Ki, 1954-1981, Hong Kong Arts Center, Hong Kong Zao Wou-Ki, A Solo Exhibition of Paintings, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore 1981 Zao Wou-Ki: Paintings, India Ink, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, France; traveled through Japan to Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka; Grand Art Gallery, Tokyo-Nihonbashi, Tokyo; Fukui Prefectural Museum of Art, Fukui; National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto; and Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura Zao Wou-Ki: Prints, Printmakers Art Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan 1980 Large Paintings by Zao Wou-Ki, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Charleroi, Belgium Large Paintings, 1964-1979, Musée d’Histoire et d’Art, Luxembourg, GrandDuchy of Luxembourg Recent India Ink, Galerie de France, Paris, France Zao Wou-Ki: Paintings and Drawings, 19761980, Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, New York


1978 1977



1973 1972




Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, France Zao Wou-Ki, Recent Works, Galerie Kutter, Luxembourg, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg Zao Wou-Ki. En Torno al Gesto, Galería Joan Prats, Barcelona, Spain Fuji Television Gallery, Tokyo, Japan Fondation Veranneman, Kruishoutem, Belgium Delta International Art Center, Beirut, Lebanon Zao Wou-Ki, 1971-1975, Galerie de France, Paris, France Maison de la Culture et des Loisirs, SaintEtienne, France Contemporary Art III, Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France Galeria Diprove, Lisbon and Oporto, Portugal Zao Wou-Ki, Watercolors, India Ink, Paintings and Prints, Galerie Kutter, Luxembourg, Luxembourg Zao Wou-Ki: Paintings, Watercolors, Prints, Heimeshoff Galerie, Essen, Germany Galerij Nicolas, Amsterdam, Holland Zao Wou-Ki: Paintings, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Neuchâtel, Switzerland Honorary Exhibition of Inks by Zao WouKi and Sculptures by May Zao, Galerie de France, Paris, France Paintings by Zao Wou-Ki, Galerie Protée, Toulouse, France Zao Wou-Ki: Paintings, Sommerakademie für Bildende Kunst, Salzburger Künstlerhaus, Salzburg, Austria Galerie Gerald Cramer, Geneva, Switzerland Recent Works by Zao Wou-Ki, Galerie de France, Paris, France Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montréal, Canada Musée du Québec, Quebec, Canada Frank Perls Gallery, Los Angeles, California

1967 1965


1963 1962

1961 1960

1959 1957 1956 1955 1954

Paintings by Zao Wou-Ki, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California Zao Wou-Ki - Recent Works, Galerie de France, Paris, France Zao Wou-Ki: A Retrospective, Paintings 1950-1964, Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany Zao Wou-Ki: Watercolors, Engravings, Lithographs, Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna, Austria Etchings and Lithographs by Zao Wou-Ki, S.H. Mori, Chicago, Illinois Zao Wou-Ki at Kootz, Kootz Gallery, New York, New York New Paintings by Zao Wou-Ki, Kootz Gallery, New York, New York Hayden Gallery, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mas­sachusetts Galerie de France, Paris, France Redfern Gallery, London, England Ateneo, Madrid, Spain; traveled to Galerìa Liceo, Córdoba, Spain The Wonderful World of Zao Wou-Ki, Kootz Gallery, New York, New York La Tentation de l’Occident, Galerie La Hune, Paris, France Kootz Gallery, New York, New York Tokyo Gallery, Tokyo, Japan New Paintings, Kootz Gallery, New York, New York Galerie de France, Paris, France, traveled to Stuttgart, Germany New Paintings, Kootz Gallery, New York, New York Paintings, Galerie de France, Paris, France Kleemann Galleries, New York, New York Galerie Pierre, Paris, France The Cincinnati Museum of Fine Arts, Cincinnati, Ohio Zao Wou-Ki: Paintings, Galleria del Sole, Milan, Italy; traveled to New York, New York


1953 Moderne Galerie Otto Stangl, Munich, Germany New Paintings, Cadby-Birch Gallery, New York, New York 1952 Zao Wou-Ki: Recent Works, Galerie Pierre, Paris, France Main Street Gallery, Chicago, Illinois Hanover Gallery, London, England Cadby-Birch Gallery, New York, New York 1951 Zao Wou-Ki: Paintings, Galerie Pierre, Paris, France Lecture par Henri Michaux de Huit Lithographies de Zao Wou-Ki, Galerie La Hune, Paris, France Galerie Klipstein, Bern, Switzerland Galerie Feigel, Basel, Switzerland 1949 Galerie Creuze, Paris, France 1947 Zao Wou-Ki, Ta-Hsin Department Store, Shanghai, China 1941 Sino-Soviétic Association, Tchouang King, China PUBLIC COLLECTIONS Albertina, Graphische Sammlung, Vienna, Austria Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, the Avery Brundage Collection, San Francisco, California Atenaeum Museum, Helsinki, Finland Atlanta Art Center, Atlanta, Georgia Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia Berkeley University, Medical Research Center, Los Angeles, California Bibliothèque Municipale, Nevers, France Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, France Bibliothèque Royale Albert 1er de Belgique, Brussels, Belgium Bridgestone Museum of Art, Ishibashi Foundation, Tokyo, Japan Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Centro Cultural de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio Civica Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan, Italy Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine Collection Nesto Jacometti, Pinacoteca Comunale Casa Rusca, Locarno, Switzerland Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan École Nationale Normale Supérieure, Lyon, France Finch Art College Museum, New York, New York Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany Fondation Collection Thyssen-Bornemisza, Castagnola, Switzerland Fondation François Pinault, Paris, France Fondation Vincent Van Gogh, Arles, France Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris, France Fragrant Hills Hotel, loan of Beijing City, Beijing, China Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, Spain Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Genoa, Italy Galerie der Stadt, Etta and Otto Stangl Collection, Stuttgart, Germany Grand-Ducal Collections, Luxembourg, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, China Iwaki City Art Museum, Fukushima, Japan Jakarta Museum, Jakarta, Indonesia Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Kaohsiung, Taiwan Lieu d’Art et d’Action Contemporaine, Dunkerque, France Manufacture Nationale de la Savonnerie, Paris, France Manufacture Nationale des Gobelins, Paris, France Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres, Paris, France Musée d’Art Moderne, Musées Royaux de BeauxArts de Belgique, Brussels, Belgium

Musée d’Art Contemporain, Skopja, Macedonia Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, “Fondation Gerald Cramer,” Geneva, Switzerland Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Metz, France Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France Musée des Beaux-Arts et d’Histoire Naturelle, Valence, France Musée des Beaux-Arts, Le Havre, France Musée des Beaux-Arts, Montréal, Canada Musée des Beaux-Arts, Orléans, France Musée des Beaux-Arts de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada Musée des Beaux-Arts, Tours, France Musée Bertrand, Châteauroux, France Musée du Dessin et de l’Estampe Originale, Gravelines, France Musée de l’Ancien Evêché, Evreux, France Musée Fabre, Montpellier, France Musée Greuze, Tournus, France Musée d’Histoire et d’Art, Luxembourg, GrandDuchy of Luxembourg Musée de l’Hospice Saint-Roch, Issoudun, France Musée Ingres, Montauban, France Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, Québec, QC, Canada Musée Olympique, Lausanne, Switzerland Musée Pierre Noël, Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, France Musée de la Poste, Paris, France Musée d’Unterlinden, Colmar, France Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City, Mexico Museo de Bellas Artes, Bilbao, Spain Museo Tamayo de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil Museu Nacional de Arte Moderna, Porto, Portugal Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas Nagaoka Contemporary Art Museum, Nagaoka, Japan National Institute of Fine Arts, Beijing, China National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan

National Museum of History, Taipei, Taiwan National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan Nippon Broadcasting System, Inc., Tokyo, Japan Nobutaka Shikanei Collection, Tokyo, Japan Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California Sara Hildénin Taidemuseo, Tampere, Finland Stanford University, Stanford, California Suzhou Museum, Suzhou, China Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan Taiwan Museum of Art, Tai-Chung, Taiwan Tel Aviv Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel Tate Gallery, Liverpool, England Tate Gallery, London, England The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-Machi, Japan The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, New York The Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Japan Veranneman Foundation, Kruishoutem, Belgium Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut

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FRONT COVER: Untitled, 1979, watercolor on paper, 22 3/8 x 29 7/8 in., 57 x 76 cm BACK COVER: Untitled, 2005, India ink on rice paper mounted on paper, 27 3/8 x 55 1/8 in., 69.5 x 140 cm

Z AO W O U - K I WAT E R C O L O R . I N K O N PA P E R . P O R C E L A I N March 15th - April 14th, 2018

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Zao Wou-Ki: Watercolor - Ink on Paper - Porcelain, 2018  

Zao Wou-Ki: Watercolor - Ink on Paper - Porcelain, 2018