Zao Wou-Ki 趙無極 (born 1920/1923) Chinese/French Artist
He is well known for melding the application of Western brushwork to traditional Chinese landscape painting of the East. He is certainly the first Chinese painter I had discovered. For a long time I had his paintings as only references in colors, movements and lines. I was fascinated by the intensity of his “blue”.
Born in Beijing in 1921, he studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou before moving to Paris in 1948. His early work was heavily influenced by painters like Paul Klee, Othon Friesz or Monet, but he eventually shifted towards an abstract approach, especially after he spent time in New York, Hong Kong and Japan in 1958.
In 1964 he is naturalized French, where he had chosen to live until his death yesterday. He began to paint realistic paintings (most portraits, still life or landscape painting) from 1935 to 1949. Then try oil on large framed inspired by Paul Klee, which are approaching the abstract form around 1950 and the lyrical abstraction in 1960.
I also like his work in Chinese ink and calligraphy which are reviving his traditional education, and more recently his work about nature, surely the most completed work he had the chance to finish before ceasing painting one year ago.