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Zao Wou-ki Wall Art

French-Chinese artist, painter and printmaker Zao Wou-Ki (Born 1921 – Died 2013) began studying art at the tender age of 14. He studied at the art academy of Hangzhou. The artist was a known for his paintings that were non-representational and blended Western and Eastern modes of making art. Wou-Ki says that everybody is bound by a tradition, but he’s bound by two traditions – French and Chinese. The artist admired the works of Franz Kline and Jackson Pollock which he said are similar to Abstract Expressionists in style. From 1941 to 1947 he worked at the Academy as a professor and showed his work in one of his first solo exhibitions. Wou-Ki was strongly influenced by proponents of European Modernity. Wou-Ki studied at the Hangzhou Fine Arts School for 6 years and was influenced by the work of Paul Klee, Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, and especially Henri Matisse.

In 1947, he moved to Paris where he became friends with Jean-Paul Riopelle, Sam Francis, Pierre Soulages and Joan Mitchell. He became a French citizen in 1964. His work is in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Tate Modern in London, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1965 his works were shown at the Folkwang museum in Essen in a first large retrospective. Later in his career, Wou-Ki turned towards a synthesis between European Art informel and Eastern calligraphy as he increasingly moved away from representational painting. In the 1970s the artist repeatedly went to China and produced a series of paintings in ink following Chinese traditions.

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