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Zao Wou-Ki (1920 - 2013). The Painter 2 times 
between 2 Worlds ! 

The Incredible Synthesis. 

4.1.62. Oil on canvas. 1962.25,50 in x 36,25 in.

Informal Art..

 





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Zao Wou-Ki is a Chinese painter naturalized French in 1964.
It draws and paints dice the 6 years age. 

In 1935, at 14 years it is formed in China at the school 
of beautiful arts of Hangzhou. 

He regards Mi Fei (1051-1107) as one of the Chinese 
great painter because it is one calligrapher. 

It is also a landscape designer of the dynasty 
of Song of the north which will influence the painters
 Chinese during several generations. 

The paintings of Zao Wou-Ki to are at crossroads. 
At the same time abstract and figurative, 
and at the same time Chinese of 
the Song school of north and Impressionists.














































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Zao Wou-Ki (1920 - 2013). The Incredible Synthesis. 4.1.62. Oil on canvas. 1962.
25,50 in x 36,25 in.

Zao Wou-Ki is a Chinese painter naturalized French in 1964.

It draws and paints dice the 6 years age. In 1935, at 14 years 
it is formed in China at the school of beautiful arts of Hangzhou. 

He contemplates penmanship like an Art, as it is the case in China, 
and he practices it. He thus considers Mi Fei (1051-1107) as one of 
the Chinese great painter because it is a calligrapher. 

It is also a landscape designer of the dynasty of Song 
of the north which will influence the Chinese painters during 
several generations. Chinese works are carried out on rollers 
of paper or of silk, arranged in a piece of furniture and the 
owners unfold them to contemplate them with meditation. 

The image takes initially form in the spirit of the author, 
it is interiorised and completed mentally, it is only then 
that he gives him a visible form. 

As the Chinese landscape is initially a support for the 
meditation often a poem penmanship specifies the emotion 
suggested by work. 

Zao Wou-Ki is also inspired by French painting starting from 
postcards which his uncle brings back for him from Paris, 
or many pages of newspapers reproducing of the paintings 
that it cuts out in reviews. 

He admires Monet, Renoir and the impressionists, Cézanne, 
then Picasso and Matisse. April 1st, 1948 it arrives at Paris. 
These first works take as a starting point Paul Klee but very 
quickly It is attached, in the years 1950, at the new School of Paris, 
then with the Lyric abstraction and the Informal art. 

Often, like here, works are titrated by their date of completion. 
Zao Wou-Ki seeks to interpret nature. In its painting, the colour 
creates an almost magic space, its funds are sandpapered and scraped, 
the ranges of nuances point out the Song landscape designers. 

But the colours are impressionist and by wonder Zao Wou-Ki 
manages to carry out an incredible synthesis. The synthesis 
between several centuries of Chinese painting and impressionism 
by the colour, but also the informal art by the key. 

On his funds which are landscapes, the painter traces signs which 
are close to the ideograms, and as by miracle he still arrives to another 
synthesis that between the abstract art and the representational art. 
This painting of 1962 is neither abstract nor figurative. The miracle 
it is that it is the 2 ! The talent of the painter is quickly recognized 
and it exposes regularly to Paris as from 1952, then in Switzerland, 
in Basle, and Lausanne, the United States in Washington, Chicago, 
and in New York. 

He is internationally recognized. However the multiple metamorphoses 
of its art divert the collectors. During more than one year its merchant 
does not sell any painting. But on November 22nd, 1954 opens with 
the museum art of Cincinnati a retrospective of the work engraved 
of the painter. The USA see in him a Master of the lyric abstraction. 

The painter illustrates in 1962 the Temptation of the Occident of 
Andre Malraux. It is on this occasion that it becomes acquainted with 
the writer who is also Minister for the culture, and thanks to him it 
obtains the French citizenship. In the years 1970, it creates several 
decorations for a set of table linen realized to the Manufacture of Sevres 
and intended for the Ministry for the Cultural Affairs. 

In 1981 a great retrospective of its work is presented to the national 
Galleries of the Grand Palais in Paris. The exposure will be included 
in five Japanese museums, in Hong Kong, then in Singapore. 

From the years 1980, and before-even its return in China, the talent 
of the painter was recognized and devoted in several countries of Europe 
like to the United States and Mexico. Regarded as a universal painter, 
it was exposed to Barcelona, to have met shortly after Joan Miró during 
its Homage exposure to Joan Miró to Madrid. 

The gallery Pierre Matisse of New York exposes it in its turn. 
One finds the painter with the grand Palais in Paris and the institute 
from France to Athens. He is recognized by his own country, China, 
about 1983 : on this date, it is accommodated in Beijing where its 
works are exposed to the National museum of China. 

It is it then in Tokyo, in Fuji Television Gallery.

Very many works appear between 1986 and 1989 on the painter. 
On French government order, in 1989, Zao Wou-Ki carries out a mural 
fresco for a school building carried out by the architect Roger Taillibert. 

Work is composed of 9 panels which are unfolded as a book of pictures.

The horizon is located above one the higher third of work. 
The sky is vaporous.
The point of view of the spectator is where it starts to perceive a shore.

It is a landscape with on the right in top a forest and in the center a 
river walking on to a city or a village.

To contemplate this work is alleviating and releasing. It is the goal of 
Chinese painting.

The artist poses the principal forms on the 2 lower 
natural points of interests. 
The right superior natural point of interest marks 
the limit between ground, sky and water.

Vast vaporous zones represent the sky and the ground. 
They occupy the 2 thirds of pictorial space. 
These zones give a celestial effect to the picture. 
This air effect rests the spirit of the spectator. 

The image is built on the ascending diagonal of left. 
There exists a movement which leaves on the left the bottom 
and which goes up to the top on the right. 

The painting is abstract in the center it becomes figurative 
on the sides and one distinguishes the sky, the ground and 
the river or the sea. 

Details : 

One distinguishes a shore and with the back perhaps 
from the dwellings, spray crossing a dam. 

In the center the black lines evoke penmanship but also the informal art.

It is a river or an arm of the sea which curves in the landscape.

Light:
The orange vaporous zones point out the light of a setting sun. 
In this case the light would come from the left.

Colours: Contrast between hot and cold colours.

This type of hot and cold contrast is impressionist.