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Chinese abstract painter Zao Wou-ki dies

April 10, 2013|By Jamie Wetherbe
  • Chinese painter Zao Wou-ki in his workshop.
Chinese painter Zao Wou-ki in his workshop. (Fran?ois Guillot / AFP/Getty…)

Abstract painter Zao Wou-ki, whose work fetched millions of dollars and set records at auction, died Tuesday. He was 93.

Zao suffered from Alzheimer's disease and poor health. He was living near Geneva with his third wife, Francoise Marquet, a former curator of the Museum of Modern Art of Paris.

The Beijing-born artist is known for blending Chinese techniques with Western aesthetics, a style that proved valuable to Asian collectors.  

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His pieces, which often sold for between $1 million and $2 million, fetched a total of $90 million at auction in 2011, making him the top-selling living Chinese artist. Last week, his piece “10.03.83” surpassed pre-sale estimates and sold for $4.8 million at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong.

The artist left China for Paris in 1948 and became a French citizen 16 years later.

Zao is survived by Marquet, along with his son, Jialing Zhao, from a previous marriage. Marquet and Zhao for two years had been in a legal dispute over guardianship of the ailing artist.


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