Zao Wou-Ki (Zhao Wuji)
- Zao Wou-Ki (Zhao Wuji)
- inscribed, signed in Chinese and Pinyin, and dated 62
- watercolour on paper
- 56.4 by 76.2 cm; 22 1/4 by 30 in.
From 1958 onwards, Zao Wou-ki vacated all reference to natural phenomena and proceeded towards pure abstraction. His abstract painting reached its peak in the 1960's. In Untitled (Lot 1007) of 1962, reds and blacks interweave and fuse, creating dramatic contrasts that evoke a primordial generative chaos. Fine white lines cover the middle of the composition, pulsating and dancing with an inner vitality and motivating the black brushwork and the layers of reddish orange. For Zao, Chinese painting lost its creativity in the 16th century, becoming a vast but staidly self-referential tradition that confuses beauty with technique and lacks the space for imagination and change. His watercolours of the 1960's manifest the wild energies of cursive calligraphy, which are also evident in his idiosyncratic inner landscapes. Zao Wou-ki painted the lot on offer as a gift to Pierre Descargues and his wife Catherine Valogne. As a journalist, art critic, photographer, and writer, Descargues was active in French art circles for over half a century. This painting is a testament to his friendship with Zao.