Create your first list.

A way to share and manage lots.

  • Provenance

    Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Zao Wou-Ki, one of the most celebrated Chinese modern artists in the world, was born in Beijing and trained at the National School of Arts in Hangzhou under the tutelage of the pioneering modern Chinese painter Lin Fengmian. Zao's move to Paris as a young artist led to the development of a singular style which moved freely between Chinese painting techniques and Western-inspired abstract compositions, and the creation of works which demonstrated a profound affinity with both traditions.

    Part of a generation of Chinese artists who went abroad in the 1940s to study and eventually stayed in their adopted countries, Zao avoided the fate of many contemporaries in this 'lost generation' who struggled to establish a name for themselves in the West whilst also remaining unknown in their native countries. For him, Paris proved to be the catalyst for the next phase of his artistic journey, granting him the long-desired freedom to create and innovate. Zao quickly rose to prominence as an abstract gestural painter, befriending other Paris émigrés such as Pierre Soulages and Joan Miro. Originally inspired by the Impressionists, he was particularly taken by the work of Paul Klee, the Swiss avant-garde painter who explored the expressive potential of colour and its relationship to music, spirituality and folk art (see for example Klee's They're Biting, 1920). Zao embraced lyrical abstraction, which provided new avenues for personal expression in his work. By the mid-1950s he re-incorporated Chinese influences more boldly into his work, at times substituting calligraphy for his previously loose and winding brushstrokes. Zao explained in a 1962 interview with the French magazine Preuves, ‘Although the influence of Paris is undeniable in all my training as an artist, I also wish to say that I have gradually rediscovered China.’ He added, ‘Paradoxically, perhaps, it is to Paris that I owe this return to my deepest origins.’ His travels in the West also led to encounters with the Abstract Expressionists, including Barnett Newman and Franz Kline. He experimented with Indian ink, but from the 1970s onwards his paintings eschewed overt lines and gestures in favour of a creating a heightened sense of spontaneity and otherworldly serenity.

    22.05.2002 (like all of Zao's mature works, named after the date it was completed) is a beautiful example of how Zao's artistic and personal journey culminated in a sublime, even spiritual, dynamism in his works. The canvas is suffused with light, the warm glow of spring tempered with rich, earthy soil. His characteristic diluted ink wash-like oils sweep across the canvas, grounded by subtle painterly gestures reminiscent of the Chinese oracle bone script which appeared in his earlier works (see for example Ailleurs, 1955). But the youthful energy of earlier abstract works has evolved into a search for a more profound, nuanced inner landscape, the same kind eulogised by Chinese literati painters through the ages. Enriched by his artistic encounters both in the East and West, in this season of his life Zao had come to embody the meaning of his given name, Wou-Ki – an artist with 'no limits'.

    22.05.2002 is from a collection spanning nearly four decades, one which features a singular preoccupation on fine art created by the world’s most renowned Asian artists that resided and worked in postwar Europe. Phillips is thrilled to have the opportunity to offer a selection from this collection across our upcoming Day and Evening sales of 20th Century & Contemporary Art in Hong Kong, a collection as unique in its personality and passion as the collector himself.

  • Catalogue Essay


    作為一代於20世紀40年代出國留學並最終留在國外發展的中國藝術家之一,趙無極避開了許多同時代人努力在西方成名結果卻在國內不為人知,淪為「迷惘的一代」之命運。對他而言,事實證明巴黎是他下一段藝術旅程的催化劑,給予他期待已久的創作和創新的自由。趙無極迅速成為一名重要的抽象繪畫藝術家,並與皮埃爾•蘇拉熱(Pierre Soulages)、胡安·米羅(Joan Miro)等旅居巴黎的藝術家交好。最初受到印象派啟發的他,對瑞士前衛畫家保羅・克利(Paul Klee)的作品尤為驚豔,因為克利在作品中探索了色彩的表現潛力及其與音樂、靈性和民間藝術的關係(參見克利的《他們上鈎了》, 1920年)。趙無極欣然接受了為他作品中的個人表達提供了新途徑的抒情抽象。到20世紀50年代中期,他更加大膽地將中國繪畫的傳統融入到他的作品中,並時常用書法來替代他之前輕疏而曲折的筆觸。 趙無極在1962年接受法國雜誌《Preuves》的採訪時解釋說,「巴黎無疑對我的藝術磨練影響深遠,但我必須說,我亦逐漸重新認識中國。」他補充說,「矛盾的是,全靠巴黎我才會回歸最深刻的本源。」他在西方世界的旅行也導致了他與抽象表現主義藝術家的邂逅,其中包括巴尼特·紐曼(Barnett Newman)和弗朗茨‧克萊恩(Franz Kline)。他用印度墨進行過實驗性創作,但從20世紀70年代開始,他的繪畫避開了明顯的線條和姿勢,轉而營造出一種極度的率意自然和超凡脫俗的寧靜致遠。

    22.05.2002(就像所有趙無極成熟時期的作品一樣,以它完成的日期而命名)是趙無極的藝術和個人旅程在其作品中達到 昇華,甚至是出神入化的極致之一件完美代表。畫布上充滿了光線,春天溫暖的霞光與豐潤的土壤相依伴。在讓人聯想起他的早期作品(參見《他方》1955年作,拍品編號13)中出現的如甲骨文般的微妙繪畫姿態之上的,是他所特有的如淡淡水墨般的油彩在畫面橫掃而過。但早期抽像作品所含的青春活力已演變成為對更深刻、更細微的內在景觀之追求,與歷代中國文人畫中所歌頌的如出一轍。融會了東西方藝術的精華,趙無極在他生命的這一階段,已然實現了自己名字的意義,正所謂-藝術上的「無極」。


Select Language




Property from an Important Hong Kong Collection


signed 'Wou-Ki [in Chinese] ZAO' lower right; further signed, titled and dated 'ZAO WOU-KI "22.05.2002"' on the reverse
oil on canvas
73 x 92 cm. (28 3/4 x 36 1/4 in.)
Painted in 2002, this work is accompanied by two certificates of authenticity, issued by the artist and Alisan Fine Arts respectively. This work will be referenced in the archive of the Fondation Zao Wou-Ki and will be included in the artist’s forthcoming catalogue raisonné prepared by Françoise Marquet and Yann Hendgen (Information provided by Fondation Zao Wou-Ki).

HK$4,000,000 - 6,000,000 

sold for HK$7,350,000

Contact Specialist

Isaure de Viel Castel
Head of Department, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 26 May 2019