Man of two Traditions

by swisscham in Culture & Society

Zao Wou-ki, one of China’s most influential artists, died at his home in Switzerland on April 9, aged 92. The reformer who mixed both Eastern and Western styles was a success both in terms of artistic accomplishment and performance at auction, his painting 10.1.68 setting a record in 2011 when it sold for HK$ 68.98 million (USD 8.9 million) at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong. Strongly influenced by the Swiss-German painter Paul Klee (1879-1940), Zao gradually abandoned details, moving away from representational painting and turning toward abstraction. He believed abstraction provided the greatest freedom and strength. His canvases became a mesh of lines and colour blocks invoking scenes from the Earth, such as ocean and fire.

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