Zao Wou-ki "Oracle-period" Work "Voie Lactée – 09.11.1956" Goes on Sale at Christie's Shanghai for RMB 38m

Christie's is going to offer Zao Wou-ki's Voie Lactée – 09.11.1956 at their Shanghai Autumn Sales. On 21 September, this rare painting from the abstract master's "oracle-bone" period will appear on the auction stage carrying an estimate of RMB38m - 68m (US$5.38m- 9.63m).

Voie Lactée – 09.11.1956 is from the abstract master's "oracle-bone" period

The Chinese-French painter is a master of abstraction

Voie Lactée – 09.11.1956, an extremely rare work from Zao’s “oracle-bone” period, is a powerful testament to the artist’s belief in how Asian art should be perceived within a wider context. This period marks a significant breaking-out point in Zao’s career, as he drew inspiration from Chinese oracle-bones and bronzeware scripts - some of the oldest forms of writing in China. By using the expressive nature of Western oil medium, Zao realised his desire to seamlessly meld Eastern and Western art forms.

"Milky Way" is an extremely rare theme in Zao's artwork. In this masterpiece, he draws inspiration from the ancient Star Map from the Tang dynasty and transforms ancient Chinese written characters by depicting a vast flow of stars across the skies of the Milky Way, linking the ever-evolving civilization of mankind's past to its future, leaving a unique imprint of Eastern art on the eternity of the cosmos.

Voie Lactée – 09.11.1956 will be on show in Taipei (26-27 August), Hong Kong (3-5 September), Beijing (14-15 September) and Shanghai (19-21 September). His "oracle-period" works have always been highly sought-after. We will show you a few of them as a reference. 

Zao Wou-ki's "Oracle-Period" Works (arranged according to their sale dates)

Zao Wou-ki (1921-2013). Voie Lactée – 09.11.1956

Auction house: Christie's Shanghai
Sale date: 21 September 2019

Created in: 1956
Size: 162 x 114cm
Provenance: to be confirmed
Estimate: RMB 38,000,000 - 68,000,000

Zao Wou-ki (1921-2013). Ailleurs

Auction house: Phillips Hong Kong
Sale date: 26 May 2019

Created in: 1955
Size: 130 x 97cm

  • Collection of Maria Martins, Rio de Janeiro (acquired directly from the artist)
  • Private Collection (by descent)
  • Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, 2 October 2016, lot 1018
  • Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

Estimate: HK$40,000,000 - 60,000,000
Price realised: HK$52,040,000

Zao Wou-ki (1921-2013). Neige Danse (Swirling Snow)

Auction house: Christie's Hong Kong
Sale date: 26 May 2019

Created in: 1955
Size: 73 x 60cm

  • Galerie Pierre Loeb, Paris, France
  • Acquired from the above by the previous owner
  • Private Collection, Germany
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner
  • This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by the Foundation Zao Wou-Ki.
  • This work is referenced in the archive of the Fondation Zao Wou-Ki and will be included in the artist's forthcoming catalogue raisonne prepared by Francoise Marquet and Yann Hendgen (Information provided by Fondation Zao Wou-Ki).

Estimate: HK$20,000,000 - $25,000,000
Price realised: HK$31,300,000

Zao Wou-ki (1921-2013). Quand Il Fait Beau

Auction house: Sotheby's Hong Kong
Sale date: 31 March 2018

Created in: 1955
Size: 73 x 92cm

  • Acquired directly from the artist by a private collector
  • Sotheby’s, New York, 17 March 2008, Lot 78
  • Acquired directly from the above by the present important private Asian collector

Estimate: HK$15,000,000 - 25,000,000
Price realised: HK$44,619,500

Zao Wou-ki (1921-2013). Et la terre était sans forme

Auction house: Poly Auction Hong Kong
Sale date: 29 March 2018

Created in: 1956-1957
Size: 200.4 x 162.3cm

  • Galerie de France, Paris, France
  • Private Collection, Switzerland (acquired from the above gallery in the late 1950s)
  • Christie's Hong Kong, 25 November 2007, Lot 211
  • Acquired from the above sale by the present owner 

Estimate: HK$90,000,000 - 150,000,000

Price realised: HK$182,900,000