Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Zao Wou-Ki donation

The Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris presents, as part of its permanent collection, a remarkable ensemble of works by Zao Wou-Ki that bring together two prestigious donations made to the museum in 2018 and 2022 by Françoise Marquet-Zao, the artist’s widow, as well as several historical works including Six Janvier 1968, acquired in 1971 by the museum’s then curator in chief Jacques Lassaigne.

“What is abstract for you, is real for me” Zao Wou-Ki


In 2018, Françoise Marquet-Zao gifted to the Musée d’Art Moderne one of the artist’s
emblematic works: Hommage à Matisse I (1986), as well as an ink and seven porcelain vases dating from 2006.
In 2022, thanks to the ongoing generosity of Françoise Marquet-Zao, the museum’s collection was further enriched by a spectacular donation of nine paintings including 24.09.51 (1951), 01.10.73 (1973) and Le Temple des Han (2005). This group of works of exceptional quality, retraces every stage of the artist’s development between 1946 and 2006.

At the crossroads of two worlds, Zao Wou-Ki’s work is “a paragon of the search for harmony between East and West” (Claude Roy). His painting, with its perfect balance between Western abstraction and Chinese pictorial tradition, is a celebration of light, movement and silence.

Zao-Wou-Ki was born in 1920 in Beijing and arrived in Paris in 1948. He soon adapted to the aesthetic upheavals of his time and became one of the great masters of lyrical abstraction. Painting, poetry, literature and music always played an important role in his creative process and he was in constant dialogue with his friends, including Henri Michaux, Edgar Varèse, Pierre Soulages, François Cheng, René Char, Claude Roy, Alberto Giacometti, Bernard Noël, Pierre Matisse, André Malraux and the architect Ieoh Ming Pei.

The Zao-Wou-Ki collection at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris is one of the most important in the public domain in France, with 11 paintings, 4 inks, 4 engravings and 7 vases. This exhibition represents almost its entirety and is the continuation of Zao Wou-Ki, l’Espace est Silence, which was presented at the Musée d’Art Moderne in 2018-2019.


Curator : Marianne Sarkari