Zao Wou-ki

€2,691,800

This long-awaited oil on canvas by Zao Wou-ki registered €2,691,800, exceeding its estimate. Including the buyer's premium, it posted a French record for the artist, beating a 1964 oil on canvas, "1.12.64" (130 x 89 cm), which sold for €2,561,500 (hammer price: €2.2 M) on 3 December at Sotheby’s in Paris. The title/date of the one here, "24.10.68", places it in a year full of upheavals, 1968, which involved both social and political unrest in France and a personal tragedy for the artist. His second wife, May, suffered from fragile psychological health. They met in Hong Kong in 1958, when she was an actress. She turned to sculpture in around 1963 in Paris. In his autobiography, "Autoportrait", Zao wrote, ‘I then discovered something I never knew existed before: mental imbalance […]. For me, and above all for May, all those years were a total nightmare.’ From 1968 onwards, things went from bad to worse, and the artist declared himself exhausted. May finally died in 1972. In the catalogue of the exhibition staged in late 2007 at the Château-museum of Nemours, Daniel Marchesseau wrote that ‘May's long illness intensified the artist's work. It resonates with a sense of rebellion imbued with a powerful romanticism, like a discordant cry from the Asian artist, whose emotions were always contained.’ This painting bears witness to this muted heartbreak, resolving the painter's torments in its material. Henri Michaux wrote, ‘As we all know, Zao Wou-ki's paintings have a particular virtue: they are good for the soul.’



.Content - Number 36

Frieze New York, from 9 to 12 May in Randall’s Island Park, Manhattan. The young, avant-garde and highly European fair has now stolen the limelight from the historical Armory Show. A vital stage for conquering the American art market

ART FAIR

Art Market Magazine

Souvenirs of the legendary Lutétia Hotel on the Paris Rive Gauche, illustrated books by the Iranian poet Salah Stétié, a Monogold by Yves Klein, a painting by the Dutch artist Eglon Van Der Neer (Great Lady) and funerary furnishings from the 13th Egyptian dynasty are just some of the highlights of the sales in France

UPCOMING

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China once more features large in the game of auctions, posting some thundering results from Hong Kong to Paris (Chicken Cup from period of Chenghua, oil on canvas by Zao Wou-ki…). And for once, the French decorative arts have followed suit.

RESULTS

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"De la Chine aux Arts Décoratifs". For the first time, this exhibition unveils the Paris Musée des Arts Décoratifs' collection of Chinese objets d’art, exceptional for their quality and diversity.

INSIDE MUSEUM

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From 23 to 25 May, 35 galleries are opening for the very first "Collectors' Weekend" in France. They are all galleries with well established reputations and a variety of profiles, ranging from the historic (Jean Fournier and Jaeger Bucher) to the more forward-looking (Cortex Athletico and Laurent Mueller).

NEWS

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After the Armory Show, which devoted its fifth "Focus" to China, Art Paris Art Fair included a window onto contemporary Chinese creation. The choice of China was a timely one, because the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and China involves a series of events in Paris.

FOCUS

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The legendary Kunstkammer
has opened again at the Kunsthistorisches Museum (KHM) in Vienna, Austria, following ten years of meticulous restoration in the museum's laboratories. This is the biggest cabinet of curiosities in the world, covering a thousand years of history…

HERITAGE

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