The Foundation

Our Mission

The Zao Wou-Ki Foundation works to promote the life and art of the painter Zao Wou-Ki (1920-2013).

Through its work, the Foundation honors the artist, safeguards his art and provides education to ensure the transmission of his creative vision to a younger generation.

About the Foundation

Registered in Switzerland while the artist was still alive under the Registre du Commerce du Canton de Genève, the Zao Wou-Ki Foundation supports artistic, cultural and administrative activities connected to the work of the artist. It acts under the oversight of the Swiss Federal Department of the Interior.

The Foundation neither owns nor sells work by Zao Wou-Ki.

Statutes and Administration

Members of the Board

Chairperson

Mrs. Françoise Marquet-Zao
Wife of Zao Wou-Ki and sole legatee and
sole owner of the moral right on his work
Artistic director
Mr. Yann Hendgen
Treasurer and member
Mrs. Muriel Sutter

 

 

Vice President
Mr. Jean-François de Clermont-Tonnerre
Secretary and member
Mrs. Marie-Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre
Members

Mr. Pierre-Bruno Genon-Catalot
Mrs. Valentine Genon-Catalot
Mr. Philippe Pochet

Certification

Françoise Marquet-Zao was named as sole legatee in the holograph will and testament written
by the artist.
She is therefore the sole owner of the moral right of the artist and as president of the Zao Wou-Ki Foundation, the only person authorized to manage the artist’s artistic legacy.
In addition, Mrs. Marquet-Zao is a member of the company ProLitteris, a Swiss copyright-management organization.
ProLitteris works to protect copyrights belonging to its members around the world, via an international network of more than 50 companies which work together to defend and protect copyright in their respective territories.
The Zao Wou-Ki Foundation contributes to the management of the rights attached to the artist’s work (notably centering around reproduction, representation and resale).
Therefore, any request relating to the reproduction or representation of a work by Zao Wou-Ki should be addressed to the Foundation for consideration for authorization by Mrs. Marquet-Zao.
As the recognized expert in Zao Wou-Ki’s work, the Foundation is the only entity authorized to issue certificates of authenticity.
Any potential buyer of an original work by Zao Wou-Ki should contact the Zao Wou-Ki Foundation about its authenticity, before making an acquisition.
The Foundation takes care to issue all certificates of authenticity for works by the artist. Buyers choose not to request certification at their own risk and in doing so, may leave themselves exposed to counterfeiting.

Catalogue raisonné

During his lifetime, Zao Wou-Ki collected all the information he could about his work, in order to keep a record and ensure its continued existence. These archives, initiated under his supervision, constitute the richest existing source of information about the artist and his work. The outcome of this work is the publication of a catalogue raisonné, as the definitive listing of all known works by the artist.
The painted works of Zao Wou-Ki represent some 1,900 paintings dated between 1935 and 2008, when he decided to stop working with oil paints. In addition, are a currently unknown number of works on paper (drawings, watercolours, inks), decorative arts (carpets, tapestries, ceramics and china, stage sets), together with more than 400 stamps that are already part of a separate catalogue raisonné.
In 2015, the Zao Wou-Ki Foundation began to prepare the first volume of the catalogue raisonné of his paintings, 1935 – 1958.

Should you wish to check that the work(s) you own is (are) present in our archives and will therefore be reproduced in the future catalogue raisonné, please do not hesitate to contact us via the following form.  

Fighting Counterfeiting

State of Play

Zao Wou-Ki is acknowledged throughout the world as one of the greatest contemporary artists of Chinese origin. The Zao Wou-Ki Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the artist’s reputation and of the integrity of his work.
Counterfeiting is a global threat that seriously harms both the interests and the image of Zao Wou-Ki. The Foundation works tirelessly against counterfeiters attempting to appropriate Zao Wou-Ki’s work by circulating forgeries in the art market, in the hope of deceiving collectors about their authenticity.
To protect the interests of the collectors who have bought or are preparing to buy works by Zao Wou-Ki, the Foundation offers to certify, free of charge, the origin of any work attributed to Zao Wou-Ki, presented prior to a possible acquisition or exhibition. To date, the Foundation is the sole authority entitled to check the origin of the works that are attributed to Zao Wou-Ki, and to certify their authenticity.
The Foundation is supported in these endeavours by the French law firm FTPA, which has a broad and recognized expertise in the field of intellectual property, supported by a highly reactive worldwide network of legal experts.
Zao Wou-Ki in his atelier, 1995, Hervé Pasquet

Contact

Zao Wou-Ki Foundation

Rue du Rhône 100
C/o Fiduciaire Verifid SA
1204 Geneva, Switzerland

Chairperson

Mrs. Françoise Marquet-Zao

info@zaowouki.org

Treasurer

Mrs. Muriel Sutter

info@zaowouki.org

Artistic director

Mr. Yann Hendgen

yann.hendgen@zaowouki.org

Deputy Art Director

MRS. Jade Lu

jade.lu@zaowouki.org

Press

presse@zaowouki.org

Detail of Zao Wou-Ki’s studio, 2011, Antoine Mercier

Detail of Zao Wou-Ki’s studio, 2004, Yann Hendgen

Counterfeiting contact:

Maître Philippe POCHET
Cabinet FTPAᅠ·ᅠ1 bis, avenue FOCH 75116 Paris, France
ppochet@ftpa.frᅠ·ᅠ+33 (0)1 45 00 86 20

Coordinated legal teams not only mean that investigations can be conducted quickly and closer to the identified sources of counterfeit products, but also that all appropriate measures are at the Foundation’s disposal to ensure the prosecution of illicit actions anywhere in the world.
Combined efforts in this area have allowed us to set up effective mechanisms for collaboration with the main online sales platforms, to stem the proliferation of counterfeit Zao Wou-Ki works over the past years.
In this respect, long-standing actions with the eBay platform have proven effective in establishing efficient preventive measures of online ad filtering, under the supervision of a team dedicated to the daily protection of Zao Wou-Ki’s works, in cooperation with the Foundation and its lawyers.
It has thus been determined, in collaboration with a certain number of the actors of online sales, a list of criteria enabling to identify, in advance, Zao Wou-Ki’s counterfeit works. Considering the notoriety of the artist, major works by Zao Wou-Ki (paintings, watercolors, inks) cannot be sold without a certificate of authenticity via on line sales platforms, apart from those of the recognized top auction houses.
Because of the current prices reached by the artist’s works, it is rather easy for a buyer / collector to identify a counterfeit work, as it is sold at a very low price compared to its real value on the market.

Moreover, the words “Limited stock(s)”, “Very rare original work”, but also “Zao Attributed”, or “Zao In the manner of”, very often used in the description of ads for counterfeit Zao Wou-Ki’s works should immediately alert potential buyers.

Works coming from Peru, Cambodia, Vietnam, Spain, Italy or Hungary are most of the time, counterfeits and are therefore, upon request of the Foundation, submitted to a special verification by the teams of the Internet platforms, eBay being one of them.
Alerted by this reality, some of the platforms following the example of eBay, now ensure, after verification by their teams and in collaboration with the Foundation, the cancelling of the ads for such works and even the banning from online access when their authors have been identified.

Even if significant advances have been achieved in combating artistic fraud, the Foundation nevertheless invites any potential buyer of Zao Wou-Ki’s works to be extremely cautious when buying via online sales platforms. As an illustration, a special vigilance must prevail with platforms such as www.liveauctioneers.com or also www.invaluable.com.

It goes without saying that the timely cooperation of all involved will make a real difference in the fight against counterfeiting.
We therefore recommend you to systematically bring to the attention of the Foundation any presentation, for an eventual sale or exhibition, of works attributed to Zao Wou-Ki so we can certify their origin.

All queries should be sent to our dedicated contact person at the Foundation:
Mr. Yann Hendgen, Art Director
Zao Wou-Ki Foundation
Rue du Rhône 100 – C/o Fiduciaire Verifid SA,
1204 Geneva, Switzerland

Email : yann.hendgen@zaowouki.org

Perpetrators of artistic forgeries and any dealer or agent who have knowingly concealed, offered for sale or put on the market such items are punishable by two years’ imprisonment and a fine of €75,000 without prejudice to the payment of damages (French Act of 9 February 1895).
We look forward to your cooperation and thank you for assisting us in our continuing fight against acts of forgery and counterfeiting that are highly damaging to the Zao Wou-Ki’s image.

NEWS ON FORGERY

1. Counterfeits in Peru

We note that counterfeits from Peru are currently being distributed via online sales platforms, with a label on the back indicating “Galerie de France”, as reproduced below:

Moreover, counterfeiters do not hesitate to accompany these forgeries with false certificates of authenticity.

Great caution is required, and in case of any doubt, please do not hesitate to contact the Zao Wou-Ki Foundation, sole authority entitled to certify the authenticity of the works that are attributed to
Zao Wou-Ki.

2. Forged prints

It has come to our attention that an increasing number of forged prints bearing a fake signature of Zao Wou-Ki, along with forged certificates of authenticity, are currently circulating on the market.
These forgeries are based on photographs of artworks by Zao Wou-Ki taken from the Internet (paintings, works on paper, etchings) to make fake prints, an example of which is reproduced below.
No certificates of authenticity pertaining to prints have ever been delivered, either by Zao Wou-Ki himself while living or by the Zao Wou-Ki Foundation since his death. No other person or entity is entitled to produce such a certificate of authenticity for any artwork created by Zao Wou-Ki. We therefore strongly recommend being extremely suspicious as to any certificate of authenticity that could be delivered for the purposes of the purchase of any print.
Once again, any doubt and / or suspicion concerning the authenticity of any print should lead to a free consultation of the Foundation.
This is a matter of the utmost concern to the Foundation and highly detrimental to the interests and reputation of Zao Wou-Ki.

A catalogue raisonné of the prints (comprehensive listing of all genuine prints created by Zao Wou-Ki) was compiled by Jørgen ÅGERUP in 1994, entitled Zao Wou-Ki – The Graphic Work. A Catalogue Raisonné 1937-1995, Skørping, Heede & Moesturp, Denmark (237 p.), with an additional volume in 2000, Zao Wou-Ki, The Graphic Work 1995-2000, Skørping, Heede & Moesturp, Denmark (15 p.).

3. Counterfeiters workshops in Cambodia / Vietnam

Counterfeiters workshops apparently located in Cambodia and Vietnam illegally reproduce, using sophisticated techniques, many of Zao Wou-Ki’s works before selling them internationally via their websites.
These works are illicit and constitute a case of confirmed counterfeit of Zao Wou-Ki’s works.

Detail of Zao Wou-Ki’s studio, 2011, Antoine Mercier