Lot 26: ZAO WOU-KI, (CHINESE/FRENCH, 1921–2013)"SANS TITRE" (ASSISI)
December 6, 2016
Philadelphia, PA, USALive Auction
"SANS TITRE" (ASSISI)
Signed and dated ''51, inscribed ''Assisi'' bottom right and in Chinese bottom center, Chinese ink on paper.
12 3/16 x 15 13/16 in. (32.5 x 40.1cm)
Private Collection (acquired early 1950s).
By family descent.
Private Collection, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
"French Painting at Mid-Century," San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, California, May 21 - June 13, 1954.
This lot is accompanied by a photo-certificate of authenticity issued by the Fondation Zao Wou-Ki and dated 10 October 2016.
On wove paper watermark repeated across top, 'LANA DOCELLES FRANCE.' Pale light-, mat and time staining, with a few very soft handling creases, the sheet gently rippled. A 2-mm. brown spot at upper left sheet located approximately 1/2-inch from the top edge and 3 3/4 inches from the left sheet corner, a minute trace of stray red ink at the upper center sheet edge just above the 'FRANCE' watermark. A small brown spot in the uninked area of the composition at lower right just located above and to the left of the artist's signature/date. Taped to the overmat with four strip of (now brittle) 4-8 inch strips of brown masking tape which are partially lifting from the sheet and leaving behind pale attendant stains (not showing through to front). The verso corners with triangular 1-in. pieces of old cellophane tape that has discolored, the verso of the upper right sheet corner also with traces of red ink in a small 1-in area. This area also bears a pencil inscription of artist's name and a purple circular stamp 'DOUANE CENTRAL/EXPOSITION PARIS.' Overall, in generally good, original condition.
Descriptions provided in both printed and on-line catalogue formats do not include condition reports. The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Interested bidders are strongly encouraged to request a condition report on any lots upon which they intend to bid, prior to placing a bid. All transactions are governed by Freeman's Conditions of Sale.
Painted in 1951, just three years after Zao Wou-Ki left his native China, the present drawing is an early example by an artist who reconciled his eastern
and western thoughts and aesthetics with awe-inspiring results. Zao Wou-
Ki was artistically trained at the Hangzhou School of Fine Arts under Lin
Fengmian, but in 1949, he made Paris his second home. There, Zao was
embraced by artists like Alberto Giacometti, Joan Miro and Paul Klee, and
first learned of Abstract Expressionism. His best known, mature style was
dubbed the epitome of ''lyrical abstractionism'' and melds this contemporary, western abstraction with the delicate execution of eastern art
that is grounded deeply in landscape and calligraphy. The present work is a
rare, early landscape painted in the ink-wash and calligraphic style of this
Chinese heritage and hints only slightly at the aesthetic evolution to come.
Zao''s delicately rendered Italian hillside and scripted dedication reveal a
genuine love and respect for nature and landscape. Roughly translated the
inscription reads, ''People who grow up in the mountain areas loves
mountain, people who draws mountain loves people who grow up in the
mountain areas. Given to LanLan." Presumably then, this work was dedicated to the artist''s first wife, Xie Jinglan.