1028
1028

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION

Zao Wou-Ki
17.12.60
Estimation
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In order to bid on "Premium Lots" you must complete the required Premium Lot preregistration application and deliver to Sotheby's such necessary financial references, guarantees, deposits and/ or such other security as Sotheby's may in its absolute discretion require, as security for your bid. Sotheby's decision whether to accept any pre-registration application shall be final. We recommend you contact Sotheby's at least 3 working days prior to the relevant sale in order to process the pre-registration, and please bear in mind that we are unable to obtain financial references over weekends or public holidays. If all lots in the catalogue are "Premium Lots", a Special Notice will be included to this effect and the paddle symbol will not be used.
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Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
40 000 00060 000 000
Lot. Vendu 59,016,000 HKD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT
1028

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION

Zao Wou-Ki
17.12.60
Estimation
Premium Lots
In order to bid on "Premium Lots" you must complete the required Premium Lot preregistration application and deliver to Sotheby's such necessary financial references, guarantees, deposits and/ or such other security as Sotheby's may in its absolute discretion require, as security for your bid. Sotheby's decision whether to accept any pre-registration application shall be final. We recommend you contact Sotheby's at least 3 working days prior to the relevant sale in order to process the pre-registration, and please bear in mind that we are unable to obtain financial references over weekends or public holidays. If all lots in the catalogue are "Premium Lots", a Special Notice will be included to this effect and the paddle symbol will not be used.
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
40 000 00060 000 000
Lot. Vendu 59,016,000 HKD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Modern Art Evening Sale

|
Hong Kong

Zao Wou-Ki
1920 - 2013
17.12.60
signed in Chinese and Pinyin; signed in Pinyin and dated 17.12.60 on the reverse
oil on canvas
160.5 by 130 cm; 63 ⅛ by 51 ⅛ in.
Lire le rapport d'état Lire le rapport d'état

This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by Fondation Zao Wou-Ki

This work will be included in the forthcoming Catalogue Raisonné currently being prepared by Françoise Marquet and Yann Hendgen (Information provided by Fondation Zao Wou-Ki)

Provenance

Kootz Gallery, New York
Collection of Mrs. Iola Haverstick, New York
Sotheby's, New York, 22 March 1979, Lot 41
Binoche, Paris, 6 December 1979, Lot 171
Binoche, Paris, 22 April 1983, Lot 51
Important Private European Collection

Bibliographie

Jean Leymarie, ed., Zao Wou-Ki, Ediciones Polígrafa, Barcelona / Editions Hier et Demain, Paris, 1978, plate 82, p. 133
Jean Leymarie, ed., Zao Wou-Ki, Rizzoli International Publications, New York, 1979, plate 82, p. 133
Jean Leymarie, ed., Zao Wou-Ki, Éditions Cercle d'Art, Barcelona / Paris, 1986, plate 82, p. 133
Claude Roy, ed., Zao Wou-KiÉditions Cercle d'Art, Paris, 1988 / 1992, plate 7, p. 93
Jean-Luc Chalumeau, Zao Wou-Ki, Éditions Cercle d'art, Paris, 2001, plate 15

Description

Magnificent Mountains with Gushy Cascades

The works from Zao Wou-Ki’s Hurricane Period (1959 – 1972) were often characterized by a central-axis composition, the artist’s mighty will sustaining the tableau, his bold and gallant imagination crisscrossing the canvas, creating an entirely individual, abstract world. The other type of composition utilized by the artist during this period was far less common, in which the artist was segmented the composition by geometric shapes, such that the background was split into two large spaces, the colors in intense contrast. The result was a space poised in a highly dramatic equilibrium. The dry brushstrokes characteristic of the Hurricane Period created a center of gravity, serving as a visual focal point that invokes the techniques of traditional Chinese landscape paintings. 17.12.60 (Lot 1028) is a marvelous representative of this latter compositional type. The upper and lower spaces occupy the canvas at a ratio of 4:1. The upper space is swathed in a deep, rich red color, the brushstrokes sweeping from top to bottom in layers upon layers, like a raging waterfall, surging downwards, striking the gully of stones below like white, crashing waves before flowing to either side. This arrangement was more commonly seen during the artist’s earlier Oracle Bone Period (1954 – 1959). The artist had draw his inspiration from Han tablets, creating this abstract composition most famously represented by his painting Stèle pour un ami, which now resides in the permanent collection of the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart in Germany. Completed at the beginning of the artist’s Hurricane Period, in 1960, 17.12.60 naturally contains lingering traces from the artist’s preceding artistic mode. It was also at this very time that Zao Wou-Ki had completed his travels to the United States, where his intimate interactions with the New York School of artists left a strong impression upon him. The artist fully absorbed the bold spirit and unrestrained magnanimity of American Abstract Expressionism into his own work of the Hurricane Period. In fact, the compositional resonance between 17.12.60 and the works of Russian-American abstract master Mark Rothko can be easily recognized. While both artists employ a similar segmentation of the canvas, however, their abstract spaces evoke utterly different worlds. Rothko’s Untitled (1960)—currently in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and soon to be offered at Sotheby’s New York Evening Sale on May 16, 2019—for example, features geometric segmentation of blocks of color, the color planes evoking the thunderous silence of the void. On the other hand, in 17.12.60, Zao Wou-Ki uses the layering of lines to create a matrix-like effect, the still space containing an aura of ethereal poeticism. On a note of historical interest, the painter San Yu, after a similar trip to New York in the 1940s, began creating paintings with backgrounds also heavily influenced by Rothko. Comparing 17.12.60 with Sanyu’s later works, one observes that despite the different artistic paths of these two Chinese-French painters—one representational, the other abstract—their encounters with American abstract art resulted in surprising compositional similarities.  Thus, Zao Wou-Ki’s sojourn to New York marks a quiet yet significant turning point in his artistic development during the mid-twentieth century.

Also during this time, Zao Wou-Ki’s close friend and French lyrical abstractionist Pierre Soulages was beginning to borrow elements of Eastern calligraphy in his abstract creations. Soulages adopted an individual interpretation of Eastern calligraphy, applying paint with flat brushes or palette knives to create straight and smooth lines. In 17.12.60, Zao Wou-Ki, employs novel techniques in painting lines onto the canvas, suggesting that perhaps the artist had embraced the influence of his friend as the two engaged in exchanges about their art. Comparing Zao Wou-Ki’s work with the works by Soulages around 1960, one can certainly observe the influence the two must have exerted upon each other, indeed suggesting an intriguing narrative within the annals of art history. In his painting for the French poet laureate Hommage à Henri Michaux, Zao Wou-Ki uses a similar composition, exuding an aura that is at once reserved yet rich with interior vitality. Amid the largely explosive and insistent paintings of the Hurricane Period, these two pieces evoke a reserved atmospheric charge, presenting a scene imbued with a spiritual aura. The lot on offer comes from the collection of the late Mrs. Iola Haverstick of New York, daughter of the once-chairman of the Guaranty Trust Company of New York, and herself a 1965 graduate of the American Literature Master’s Program at Columbia University. She worked at various important publications during her career, including the New York Sun, Life Magazine, and the Saturday Review, later becoming the Secretary to the Committee at Yale University, where she worked on the publication of the papers of Scottish biographer and diarist James Boswell. She was also a regular contributor to the New York Times as a book critic. In 1998, Mrs. Haverstick organized “Emerging Voices: An Exhibition of American Women Writers from 1650 – 1920,” cementing her renowned status in the American literary world. At the same time, Mrs. Haverstick was known for her collection of art, in particular, her pieces by American painters of the Ashcan and Hudson Valley schools. After its acquisition into Mrs. Haverstick’s personal collection, Zao Wou-Ki’s 17.12.60 has not been shown in public. Now, after nearly sixty years behind closed doors, re-emerging on center stage is a masterpiece that unites Asian, European, and American post-war abstract art.

Modern Art Evening Sale

|
Hong Kong