In making his art studies in Hangzhou, Zao learns oil painting with Lin Fengmian. Arriving in Paris in 1948, he discovers abstract art. He is also inspired by the research of Henri Michaux on the abstraction of the calligraphic message.
For Zao, the color is a kind of theater stage on which he will write his poems on the hidden meaning of the universe. Figuration (boats, birds or the Moon) is drifting into a pseudo-calligraphy that makes it increasingly indecipherable.
In 1950 some oils on canvas by Zao are dominated by pure green that is mingled with more complex hues such as blue-green or yellow-brown. These colors express his vision of the world at that time. Green will soon cease to be an essential element of his palette.
On May 28 in Hong Kong, Christie's sells an oil on canvas "Vert émeraude" 127 x 127 cm, lot 24. The delicate balance of the masses may evoke day and night.
The trend of the artist toward an expressionist abstraction is already taken with fully filled surfaces as in Pollock, the absence of structural lines as in Still, an unreadable message announcing Gaitonde and a subtlety in color mixing which prefigures Richter.
SOLD for HK$ 70M including premium