On 25 November, Zao Wou-ki’s 29.01.64 will be offered at Christie’s in Hong Kong as a highlight of the Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art sale. The painting carries an estimate of HK$85m-125m.
Born in China in 1920, Zao Wou-Ki moved to France in 1948. In his formative years he was inspired by artists such as Matisse and Picasso, and he continued to be influenced by Western Modernism and the work of the Impressionists and Expressionists. Following his move to Paris, his paintings shifted toward abstraction.
29.01.64 and Early Spring
Zao’s art has deep roots in the landscape painting tradition of China’s Song and Yuan dynasties. The vertical composition of 29.01.64 recalls 11th-century landscapes including those of Gui Xi, punctuated with high mountains and trees. While it gives full freedom to abstraction, one can detect in 29.01.64 the outlines of natural elements.
In 1957 Zao began to integrate calligraphy into his paintings, with symbols evocative of the earliest known Chinese writings on ancient bronze vessels. In 29.01.64, what at first looks like a calligraphy piece reveals, on closer inspection, a landscape, forest, pond or wave in the tiny details. It is a work that may signify different things to different viewers. Readers of Chinese may ‘see the character for “love” or “longevity" while non-Chinese viewers might be drawn to the natural landscape.
Zao Wou-ki and 29.01.64
By 1959, Zao Wou-ki was no longer naming his works, but instead titled them with the date of their completion as a way to avoid ascribing overt visual associations.
Zao Wou-ki (1920-2013). 29.01.64.
Lot no.: 24
Created in: 1964
Size: 260 x 200 cm
Signed in Chinese, signed ‘ZAO’ (lower right); signed, titled and inscribed ‘Zao Wou-Ki 29.1.64 260 x 200. ne pas vernir’ (on the reverse)
Private Collection, Europe (acquired directly from the artist by the present owner)
Note: This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by the Foundation Zao Wou-Ki.
Estimate: HK$85,000,000 - 125,000,000
Auction house: Christie’s Hong Kong
Sale: Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art (Evening Sale)
Venue: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
No. of lot: 58
2017/11/24｜10:30am - 6:30pm
2017/11/25｜10:30am - 7pm