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Maker(s):Zao Wou-Ki
Culture:French, born China, (1920-2013)
Title:Le soleil rouge [The Red Sun]
Date Made:1950
Materials:Color lithograph
Place Made:Europe; France; Paris
Measurements:Mat: 20 in x 16 in; 50.8 cm x 40.6 cm; Sheet: 22 3/8 in x 15 in; 56.8 cm x 38.1 cm; Plate: 18 7/8 in x 13 3/8 in; 47.9 cm x 34 cm; Image: 18 7/8 in x 13 3/8 in; 47.9 cm x 34 cm
Narrative Inscription:  Recto: signature lwr. l. (pencil): [Chinese characters] ZAO; lwr. r. (pencil): IV/LX
Accession Number:  MH 1991.4.739
Credit Line:Bequest of Helene Brosseau Black (Class of 1931)
Museum Collection:  Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

A green globe at center of the print is surrounded by soft blue and pink ink and a circle of trees. Two nude, abstracted human forms stand at lower right and two elongated deer at lower left.

Label Text:
Zao Wou-Ki moved to Paris soon after World War II, previously having trained in art and traditional Chinese painting techniques at the China Academy of Art. Influenced by other post-war painters like Paul Klee, Zao combined European abstractionism with Chinese ink painting and calligraphy. Zao’s skill as a printmaker is on full display in the painterly Le Soleil Rouge, an incongruously named landscape featuring an oversized green sun.

Zao’s printmaking was often closely tied to his painting practice. Of engraving, and its contrast to oil painting, Zao said: “...I was interested in researching another mode of expression. Unlike painting, engraving permits a large number of variations.” Zao used prints like these three to experiment with the vast variations of composition and color permitted by the medium.

-Kendra Weisbin, Associate Curator of Education, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum (Sept. 2017)

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