Born in Beijing in 1920, Zao Wou-ki began his artistic studies under the direction of Lin Fengmian at the Hangzhou School of Fine Arts in 1935 at the age of 15. After graduating in 1941, he was appointed assistant professor at the school where he taught until 1947. The following year, Zao Wou-ki moved to Paris, where he took courses at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and encountered Western artistic movements such as European Lyrical Abstraction. The artist developed his abstract style throughout the 1950s alongside fellow artists Alberto Giacometti and Joan Miró as well as American gallery owner Samuel Kootz. Zao Wou-ki has enjoyed various international exhibitions, representing France at the 40th International Exhibition of the Carnegie Institute of Pittsburgh in 1956 and the Venice Biennial in 1960, as well as receiving the Praemium Imperiale Award of Painting, Japan in 1994. In 2002 he was elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts, Paris and in 2006 was elevated to the decorated position of Grand Officier de l’Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur by the President of France.