Sotheby's to put Zao painting on auction block

Updated: 2013-11-22 22:20

By Lin Qi (

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Sotheby's to put Zao painting on auction block

Abstraction, by Zao Wou-ki. Photo provided to

Abstraction, a sizable oil painting of Zao Wou-ki, the Chinese-French artist who died in April at age 93, will go on sale during Sotheby's Beijing Art Week events from Nov 28 to Dec 1.

The work was from Zao's “oracle bone period”, during which he drew inspiration from Chinese bone inscriptions. He created a powerful composition mainly by applying red and black, two fundamental colors in traditional Chinese culture. The work was first purchased by Myriam Prevot, owner of Paris-based Galerie de France, and later, in 1961, became part of the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The work is among 140-odd paintings that Sotheby's Beijing will sell at its first major auction, after a symbolic sale of one lot to celebrate its establishment last year. The items fall into four categories, including 20th century Chinese art, “New Wave” art from the 1980's to 1990's, contemporary Chinese art and contemporary Chinese ink art.

Also capturing attention is a private sale of Western art, featuring the works of Rembrandt, Picasso and Rodin.

Neither Christie's or Sotheby's can sell Chinese cultural relics (generally referring to objects created before 1911 and archaeological artifacts) on the mainland under current laws.

Besides contemporary Chinese art, works of the highest grossing old masters, impressionist works and contemporary art will play a bigger role in operations on the mainland.