1921 Zao Wou-Ki was
born in Beijing on February 13th , in a family of intellectuals
belonging the Song Dynasty( 10th-13th centuries A.D. )
after, his parents moved to Nantung, a small town in
the north of Shanghai, where his father
was appointed banker.
started drawing and painting at the age of ten years old and learns
Chinese characters with
entered the School of Fine Arts in Hangzhou. The first three years,
he studied drawing from plaster,
then the next two, from live models.
The oil painting was taught only in the final year, but Zao Wou-Ki
wait to paint still life and portraits, including portraits
of his sister.
was appointed assistant of his school.
organized an exhibition at the National Museum of Natural History in
Chongqing with works by:
Lin Fong-Mien, Wu Ta-Yu, Kouang Leang, Tin Yin-Yong, Lin Kuang-Tang and
left China for France, with his wife Lan-Lan.
arrival in Paris on April 1st, Zao Wou-ki
visited the Louvre.
settled in the Montparnasse district, first
in hotels and in a nearby workshop of Alberto Giacometti,
enrolled at the French Alliance in order to
learn French and follow the course of Emile Othon Friesz
Academie de la Grande Chaumiere.
became friends with the artists that he met
at the Galerie Nina Dausset, rue du Dragon: Norman Bluhm, Hans
Hartung, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Sam Francis, Pierre Soulages, Nicolas de
Stael, Maria Vieira da Silva.
exposition, galerie Greuze..
Michaux introduced him to the gallery owner Pierre Loeb, with who he
worked seven years.
took part of the Salon de Mai, where he
exhibited regularly until 1978.etook part of the Salon de Mai, where he
exhibited regularly until 1978.
exhibitions in Bern and Geneva introduced him to the work of Paul
Klee, he will follow his approach.
exhibits regularly in Switzerland ( Basel, Lausanne ) and the USA
( Chicago, New York, Washington )
realized the scenery of the Ballet La Perle for Roland Petit.
visiting Italy, Spain, Holland, England, he spent some time in New
he became friend with many artists
Baziotes, J.Brooks, Philip Guston, Gotlieb, Hanz Hoffman,
Kline, Saul Steinberg.
stayed three weeks in Japan and visit Hong
Kong where he met Chan May Kan who would become
his second wife.
Caputo and Myriam Prévot asked him to work for la Galerie de France.
Kootz sign a contract with him and decide to expose his work
regularly at Sam Kootz gallery
in New York.
transformed a former warehouse located in Jonquoy street in the XIV
arrondissement of Paris,
by the architect Georges Johannet.
illustrated with ten lithographs The
Temptation of the West, from Andre Malraux.
pursue with the
poetry of Roger Caillois, René Char, Jean Laude,
Jean Lescure, Saint-John Perse,
obtained the French citizenship.
1970 He hosted a seminar created by the painter Oscar Kokoska, at the Salzburg Festival.
1972 His wife died from a long chronic illness. Then, he travelled to China to see his family.
That same year, the Galerie de France exposed paint and ink of the artist and sculptures of May.
1973 After a long interruption, Zao Wou-Ki began painting large formats, most of which will be exhibited
at the Tokyo Fuji Television Gallery in 1977.
1978 With his new wife, Françoise Marquet, curator of the Museums of the City of Paris, he will be in contact
with his friends: I. and Eilee Pei, Sam and Joyce Kootz, in New York, and meet again Joan Miro in Madrid.
1979 The National Library presented eighty prints from the donation of Zao Wou-Ki, with a number
of the "News Print".
1980 He was appointed professor of mural paint at the ENSAD of Paris.
( Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs)
1981 Major retrospective of his work at the “Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais”, in Paris.
1983 Invited by the Chinese Ministry of Culture, Zao Wou-Ki exhibited for the first time since he left to China,
at the National Museum in Beijing and also in his old school the Zyejiang Academy of Fine Arts.
1984 He was appointed Officer of the Legion of Honor, on the proposal of the Minister of Culture, Jack Lang.
1988 Major retrospective organized by Artcurial at the F.I.A.C and also, release of his autobiography
"Self-Portrait", written in collaboration with Françoise Marquet.
was promoted to Commander of the Legion of Honor by the President of
the French Republic,
of the Premium Imperial Award of painting in Japan, he went with his
wife to Tokyo in order
to receive the Imperial Prize.
at the Museum of Arts in Kaohsiung,Taiwan, then, to the Hong Kong
Museum of Art.
received the Award of the Taylor Foundation.
was elected member of the Academy of Fine Arts on December 4, the
chair of Jean Carzou.
of a hundred of his works in the gallery of the Jeu de Paume in
26.11 Réception in
the dome, Zao Wou-Ki.
2008 Retrospective of engraved works at the National Library of France and at the Suzhou Museum in China.
2010 Retrospective at the Arpad Szenes-Vieira da Silva Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal.
2011 He created 14 stained glasses for the réfectoire des chanoines du prieuré of Saint-Cosmes à La Riche
( unique achievement in the art of stained glass, his entire career ).
2012 Suffering from Alzheimer disease, Zao wou-ki recently moved to Switzerland with his wife, on the shores of Lake Leman. A legal battle is ongoing because the son of the artist Jia-Ling Zhao, contest that decision by accusing his stepmother ( who created the Geneva Zao Wou-Ki Foundation ) to monopolize the work of his husband.
Two procedures for guardianship have been incurred.
2013 Since late March, the painter was hospitalized twice. He died Tuesday, April 9 at the age of 93.
He is buried in Montparnasse Cemetery, alongside with Chan May ,his second wife and mother of his daughter.