Collection: Zao Wou-Ki   1921 - 2013 

Zao was born in Beijing with family roots in Dantu, Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province. In his hometown Dantu he studied calligraphy. From 1935 to 1941, he studied painting at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. In 1948, he went with his wife Lan-lan, a composer, to Paris to live on the same block in Montparnasse where the classes of Émile Othon Friesz took place. His earliest exhibitions in France were met with praise from Joan Miró and Picasso.

Zao's works, influenced by Paul Klee, are orientated to abstraction. In them, masses of colours appear to materialise a creating world, like a big bang, where light structures the canvas. While his work was stylistically similar to the Abstract Expressionists whom he met while travelling in New York, he was influenced by Impressionism, particulary by the works of Matisse, Picasso and Cézanne