136
136
Zao Wou-Ki
15.11.88
ACCÉDER AU LOT
136
Zao Wou-Ki
15.11.88
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction

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Londres

Zao Wou-Ki
1920 - 2013
15.11.88
signed; signed, titled and dated 15.11.88 on the reverse
oil on canvas
100 by 80cm.; 39 3/8 by 31 1/2 in.
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Provenance

Fondation Veranneman, Kruishoutem
Galerie Veranneman, Kruishoutem
Acquired by the family of the present owner circa 1997

Description

Painted in delicate washes of pink, yellow and green, Zao Wou-Ki’s 15.11.88 is an exquisite example of the artist’s elegant compositions of the late 1980s. Influenced by the free, expressive techniques of Monet and Renoir, whom he so much admired, Zao Wou-Ki’s paintings are nevertheless also informed by his training in the tradition of Chinese calligraphy and painting that he studied in his youth. Indeed, although the present work characteristically stands on the cusp of figuration and abstraction, 15.11.88 can arguably be likened to Monet’s renderings of his garden at Giverny, yet at the same time, is strongly reminiscent of the ethereal landscapes painted by the Chinese master Mi Fu during the Song Dynasty. Dominating the composition and imbuing the canvas with a luminosity that seems to emanate from within, light shades of yellow and pastel pink slowly converge with vivid verdant hues that saturate the lower half of the painting. As early as 1967, the painter had told the art critic J. D. Rey: “I like people to be able to stroll about in my canvases, as I do myself when I paint them” (the artist quoted in: Jean Laymarie, Zao Wou-Ki, Barcelona 1979, p. 43). In 15.11.88, the viewer is invited to let the mind wander in the vaporous brushstrokes that swell and swirl, permeating the canvas with a lyrical cadence.

Born to an affluent family in Beijing, after studying calligraphy during his childhood, the young painter enrolled at the Hangzou School of Fine Arts in 1935, where he studied traditional Chinese painting under Lin Fengmian. There, and despite the lessons he received on Western Art History, the artist became aware of the limited possibilities he would have in his native China to express himself freely as a painter, and in 1948 set off to Paris with his wife. It was in the French capital that he finally encountered the art he had only seen in reproductions, made acquaintance with the great artists of the time - Joan Miró, Alberto Giacometti and Pierre Soulages, who became his friends and supporters of his work. It was in Paris, too, where he developed the distinctive style that is unique to his paintings. By 1988, the year the present work was completed, the artist had been able to visit his homeland where he exhibited for the first time in 1983. Highly acclaimed on an international level, the painter now embraced the traditional training he had received at Hangzou and blended it with the abstract style he had acquired during his artistic development. The result in15.11.88 is a work of unique beauty and grace, where colours change subtly and ethereally epitomising the artist’s original command of the medium.

Contemporary Art Day Auction

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Londres