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Franco-Chinese abstract painter Zao Wou-Ki dies at home at the age of 93: Lawyers
File photo of painter Zao Wou-ki posing in his Paris studio. Paris. AFP PHOTO FRANCOIS GUILLOT.
PARIS (AFP).- Chinese-French abstract painter Zao Wou-Ki, a significant figure in 20th-century Chinese art, died Tuesday at his home in Switzerland aged 93, Marc Bonnant, a lawyer for his wife, told AFP.

A lawyer for Zao's son, who was in a legal battle with his step-mother to obtain power-of-attorney over the artist, confirmed the death and said Zao, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease, had been hospitalised twice since the end of March.

The Beijing-born Zao left China for Paris before the Communist Party took over the country and had been a French citizen since 1964. His works regularly sold at auction for between $1 million and $2.5 million (between 760,000 and 1.9 million euros).

His later years were marked by the family feud between his third wife, Francoise Marquet, and his son from a previous marriage, Jia-Ling Zhao.

Marquet, a former curator of the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, moved the artist to Switzerland in 2011, saying the country offered the best environment for his health and for preserving his assets.

But Zhao asserted the move was part of his step-mother's efforts to control the artist's inheritance, including potentially millions of euros worth of works in his personal collection.

The son last month won a victory in the legal battle, with the appointment of two independent guardians who were to carry out an inventory of the artist's possessions.

Zhao's lawyer, Jean-Philippe Hugot, said a decision had been taken on Tuesday -- against the wishes of the artist's son but with his wife's consent -- to interrupt Zao's treatment and allow him to die.



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