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Wou-Ki Zao

(1920-2013)

Aliases: Zao Wou-Ki, Wu-chi Chao, Wu-chi Zao, Wou-ki Tsao, Wou-Ki, Zao Wou-Ki, Zao Wou-Ki , Zao Wou Ki, Zao Wou Ki, Zhao Wuji

Figure painter, Lithographer

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Biography

(b Beijing, 1920) Chinese Painter. Wou-Ki Zao was born in Beijing though he grew up in Nantong near Shanghai. In 1935, at the age of 14 he entered the Hangzhou National Arts Academy. Upon graduation he was asked to stay on as an instructor. After a successful solo show in 1947, Zao left for Paris, where he soon became immersed in the burgeoning abstract expressionist movement. Zao embraced the gestural spontaneity of the new aesthetic, which resonated with his background in traditional Chinese art. He was greatly influenced by the work of Paul Klee, whom he met in 1951, while traveling in Switzerland. In 1954, Zao began a series of works incorporating the inscriptions from Chinese archaic bronzes and oracle bones into his compositions. This came to define all of his subsequent works, which combine dynamic layers of bold color and strong calligraphic brushstrokes.

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