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Zao Wou-Ki

(1921-2013)

Born in Beijing in 1920, Zao Wou-ki is from an aristocratic and well-educated family. Enrolled into the National Hangzhou School of Art in1935, he studied traditional painting, calligraphy and meanwhile explored the western art. His first personal exhibition was held in Shanghai in 1947, right before he left for Paris. He settled in Montparnasse, studied at Academy of the Large Thatched Cottage (L’Académie de la Grande- Chaumière) and became friends with abstract artists from School of Paris (L’École de Paris). In 1949, he met the poet and painter Henri Michaux. At the very begining, he was inspired by Paul Klee’s works, he integrated imaginary ideogram to his canvas which reconcile with the traditional chinese calligraphy.

Started from 1954, he diverged himself from such influence and found a clear way on the abstract landscape that at the frontier between the East and the West. Followed the suggestions from Henri Michaux, in 1971, he returned to the techniques of traditional ink. This spontaneous and intuitive experiment allows him to express the notion of the wholeness and void thoroughly, and became a famous international artist. His works are collected by different major museums all around the world.

Personal exhibitions

1947 Sino-Soviétic Association, Tchouang King, China
1954 The Cincinnati Museum of Fine Arts, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
1956 Kleemann Galleries, New York, U.S.A.
1965 Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany
1968 San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
1969 Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montréal, Canada
Musée du Québec, Quebec, Canada
1973 Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
1975 Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France

Maison de la Culture et des Loisirs, Saint-Etienne, France

1977 Fondation Veranneman, Kruishoutem, Belgium
1980 Musée d’Histoire et d’Art, Luxembourg, Grand- Duchy of Luxembourg

Palais des Beaux-Arts, Charleroi, Belgium

1981 Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, France; traveled through Japan to Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka; Grand Art Gallery, Tokyo-Nihonbashi,Tokyo; Fukui Prefectural Museum of Art, Fukui; National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto; Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura, Japan
1982 National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore, Singapore

Hong Kong Arts Center, Hong Kong

1983 Musée Ingres, Montauban, France; traveled to Espace des Cordeliers, Châteauroux, France; the National Museum of Fine Arts, Beijing, China; Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts, Hangzhou, China

National Museum of History, Taipei, Taiwan; traveled to the House of Culture, Tai-Nan and Prefectoral Library, Tai-Chung, Taiwan

1986 French Cultural Center, Rome, Italy
1988 Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Metz, France
1990 Musée des Beaux-Arts, Tours, France
1991 Vasarely Foundation, Aix-en-Provenance, France
1992 Château de Vianden, Vianden, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg

Centre Cultural Noroît, Arras, France
Musée National, Luxembourg, Luxembourg, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg

Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal

1993 Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
1994 Centro Cultural de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico
1995 Maison de la Culture, Nevers, France

Ishibashi Museum of Art, Ishibashi Foundation, Kurume, Japan
Caja de Ahorros, Saragossa, Spain

1996 Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan

Museum of Arts, Hong Kong

1998 Retrospective, organized by Association Française d’Action Artistique, L’Oréal and the Shanghai Museum of Art, Shanghai, China; traveled to the Chinese Palace of Fine Arts, Beijing, China; the Palace of Fine Arts, Canton, China.

Musée des Beaux-Arts, Angers, France

1999 Centre d’Art Plastiques, Royan, France
2000 Institut Français, Barcelona, Spain

Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville, Paris, France

2001 Institut Valenciá d’Art Modern, Centre Julio González, Valencia, Spain; traveled to Musée d’Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium
2002 Château de Chenonceau, Chenonceaux, France
2003 Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris, France

Retretti Art Center of Taidehalli, Helsinki, Finland

2004 Bridgestone Museum of Art, Ishibashi Foundation, Tokyo, Japan

Musée Fabre, Montpellier, France
Musée des Beaux Arts, Dunkerque, and Prints and Illustrated Books, Musée du Dessin et de l’Estampe Originale, Gravelines, France

2005 Palais Bénédictine, Fécamp France

Espace Bellevue, Biarritz, France

2006 Suzhou Museum, Suzhou City, China
2007 Chateau Musée de Nemours, Nemours, France
2008 Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, France; exhibition traveled to Suzhou Museum, Suzhou City, China

Musée de l’Hospice Saint-Roch, Issoudun, France

Musée National des Beaux-arts du Québec, Québec, Canada

2009 Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong
2010 Fundação Arpad Szenes, Lisbon, Portugal
2011 Sarthe Fine Art, Hong Kong
2012 Oriental Art & Cultural Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
FEAST Projects, Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong
2015 Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Martigny, Switzerland

Public exhibitions

Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.A.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia, U.S.A. 

Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK
Veranneman Foundation, Kruishoutem, Belgium
The Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Japan
The Tate Gallery, London, UK
The Tate Gallery, Liverpool, UK
Tel Aviv Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel
Taiwan Museum of Art, Tai-Chung, Taiwan
Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
Suzhou Musem, Suzhou, China
Stanford University, Stanford, California, U.S.A.
Sara Hildénin Taidemuseo, Tampere, Finland
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California, U.S.A. 

Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Nobutaka Shikanei Collection, Tokyo, Japan
Nippon Broadcasting System, Inc, Tokyo, Japan
National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan
National Museum of History, Taipei, Taiwan
National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan
National Institute of Fine Arts, Beijing, China
Nagaoka Contemporary Art Museum, Nagaoka, Japan
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York, U.S.A.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. 

Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. 

Museu Nacional de Arte Moderna, Porto, Portugal
Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Museo Tamayo de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico
Museo de Bellas Artes, Bilbao, Spain
Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City, Mexico
Musée d’Unterlinden, Colmar, France
Musée de la Poste, Paris, France
Musée Pierre Noël, Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, France
Musée Olympique, Lausanne, Switzerland, Lausanne, Switzerland
Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, Québec, QC, Canada
Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
Musée Ingres, Montauban, France
Musée de l’Hospice Saint-Roch, Issoudun, France
Musée d’Histoire et d’Art, Luxembourg, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg
Musée Greuze, Tournus, France
Musée Fabre, Montpellier, France
Musée de l’Ancien Evêché, Evreux, France
Musée du Dessin et de l’Estampe Originale, Gravelines, France
Musée Bertrand, Châteauroux, France
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Tours, France
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec City, Canada
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Orléans, France
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Montréal, Canada
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Le Havre, France
Musée des Beaux-Arts et d’Histoire Naturelle, Valence, France
Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France
Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Metz, France
Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, “Fondation Gerald Cramer”, Geneva, Switzerland
Musée d’Art Contemporain, Skopja, Macedonia
Musée d’Art Moderne, Musées Royaux de Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels, Belgium 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, U.S.A.
Lieu d’Art et d’Action Contemporaine, Dunkerque, France
Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Jakarta Museum, Jakarta, Indonesia 

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, U.S.A. 

Iwaki City Art Museum, Fukushima, Japan
Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, China
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, U.S.A. 

The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-Machi, Japan
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, U.S.A. 

Grand-Ducal Collections, Luxembourg, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg
Galerie der Stadt, Etta and Otto Stangl Collection, Stuttgart, Germany
Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Genoa, Italy
Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, Spain
Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan
Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris, France
Fondation Vincent Van Gogh, Arles, France
Fondation François Pinault, Paris, France
Fondation Collection Thyssen-Bornemisza, Castagnola, Switzerland
Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A. 

Finch Art College Museum, New York, New York, U.S.A.
École Nationale Normale Supérieure, Lyon, France
Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
Collection Nesto Jacometti, Pinacoteca Comunale Casa Rusca, Locarno, Switzerland 

Civica Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan, Italy
Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
Centro Cultural de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico
Bridgestone Museum of Art, Ishibashi Foundation, Tokyo, Japan
Bibliothèque Royale Albert 1er de Belgique, Brussels, Belgium
Bibliothéque Nationale de France, Paris, France
Berkeley University, Medical Research Center, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. 

Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.
Atlanta Art Center, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.
Atenaeum Museum, Helsinki, Finland
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada 

Selected works