Zao Wou-Ki
Zao Wou-Ki (Zhao Wuji) (Chinese-French, Abstract Expressionism, 1920-2013): "10.1.68", 1968. Oil on canvas, 82 x 117 cm (32-1/4 - 46 inches). Private Collection. Image: © 2014 Sotheby’s. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

'Zao Wou-Ki's artistic career reached a new pinnacle in the 1960s. During the late 1950s, he decided to reject his previous artistic achievements by forsaking realistic representation, this change being inaspired by Northern Song master Fan Kuan's axiom: "It is better to learn from Nature than from ancient masters; it is even better to learn from your own heart than from Nature." Zao plumbed the depths of his inner being for inspiration, extending and fusing colour palettes in pursuit of an infinite, abstract world on canvas. He contemplated the many-faceted issues surrounding the universe, portraying things that are not even visible to the naked eye: elements such as qi (energy), winds, the power and physicality of life, as well as his own personal feelings. All these contribute to Zao's Abstract Landscape series of the 1960s.' (© 2014 Sotheby’s)

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'Zao's given name, "Wou-ki" (or "Wuji" in the standard Hanyu Pinyin romanization used in China), means "no boundaries." No single phrase better encapsulates the union in his person and art of the two often disparate cultures and aesthetic visions of France and China.

"French thought and Chinese thought are not the same … It's hard to translate between them. Sometimes you must wear yourself out trying to understand. Painting must express these feelings." ' (Julia Grimes, Special to CNN. © 2013 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.)

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' "Zao is the first 20th-century Chinese artist with an international reputation," said Sylvie Chen, a modern-Chinese-art expert at Sotheby's ... His lifetime oeuvre consists of some 1,800 oil paintings on canvas, compared with 3,000 works by Gerhard Richter, the world's current top-selling living artist.' (online.wsj.com © Dow Jones & Company)