An exceptionally rare show of early works by the 90-year-old French-Chinese master painter Zao Wou-ki will open de Sarthe Fine Art, the latest blue-chip gallery to set up in Hong Kong.
Coming to Hong Kong was a natural choice, says Pascal de Sarthe, who founded his gallery in Paris in 1977, and later moved to the United States. De Sarthe sees a broader public role for his gallery, especially in a city whose public art institutions are notoriously conservative.
“Except for the galleries, there aren’t enough places in Hong Kong to see art,” he says, explaining that he plans to hold a big show every two months or so, featuring major international artists “that you would normally see in a museum.”
Zao is a unique cross-cultural figure. Born in Beijing in 1921, he studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou before moving to Paris in 1948. His early work was heavily influenced by painters like Paul Klee and Othon Friesz, but he eventually shifted towards an abstract approach, especially after he spent time in New York, Hong Kong and Japan in 1958.
By the 1960s, Zao had developed his own, distinctive style, which often reflected an expressionist take on Chinese landscape painting.
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