• France's news in English
 

Franco-Swiss feud splits Chinese painter's family

Published: 21 Nov 2012 11:54 GMT+01:00

At the heart of a battle ripping the family apart lies the contested ownership of eight works worth millions of dollars.

The son, Jia-Ling Zhao, believes that Zao, who is 91 and has suffered from Alzheimer's disease since at least 2005, was moved to Switzerland in 2011 against his will.

The Beijing-born artist left China for Paris before the Communist Party took over the country and has been a French citizen since 1964.

"Zao had been in France since 1948, he is very attached to the country and never expressed any desire to leave it," said his son's lawyer, Jean-Philippe Hugot.

His wife, Francoise Marquet, a former curator of the Museum of Modern Art in Paris now based in the Lake Geneva region, stands to inherit a greater part of the artist's estate than she would have done had they stayed in France.

She asserts that Switzerland offers the best environment for his health and for preserving his assets, both financial and artistic.

Marquet has created a foundation in Switzerland to promote her husband's work, prompting protests from the son that both he and his father are now excluded from the management of his collection.

"Zao Wou-Ki is doing well, the move to Switzerland has been beneficial for him," Pierre Genon-Catalot, the lawyer for Marquet insisted.

"He is much better physically."

Zao's son, however, is not convinced and he has pursued legal action on two fronts.

A request to a Paris court for him to be granted power of attorney over his father's affairs was rejected after the judge ruled that he could not rule on the decision since Zao was now resident in Switzerland.

The son is appealing that ruling and a decision is due on December 4th.

In parallel with that request, Jia-Ling Zhao has since May been pursuing his mother-in-law for allegedly abusing a person weakened by illness and has secured the opening of a preliminary investigation by the French authorities.

Marquet, meanwhile, has, through the Swiss courts, secured joint power of attorney over her husband and his estate along with a Swiss national, Marc Bonnant.

That decision, which has enabled Marquet to sell some of her husband's works, is being challenged by the son, who is seeking to be legally recognised as jointly responsible for his father.

He also accuses his mother-in-law of having moved eight paintings that have belonged to him since Zao divorced his mother in 1958.

Marquet's lawyer, Genon-Catalot, dismissed that suggestion.

"He has made that claim knowing that Zao can no longer respond to him."
   
He added that the artist had always lived by selling his works and that the most recent sales had been authorized by a Swiss judge.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
The Bettencourt Affair
Ten on trial over fortune of L'Oreal heiress
A file photo of Liliane Bettencourt. Photo: Francois Guillot/AFP

Ten on trial over fortune of L'Oreal heiress

Ten people close to France's richest woman Liliane Bettencourt go on trial Monday charged with exploiting the frail L'Oreal heiress in an explosive drama that began with a family feud and put a president in the court's crosshairs. READ  

Greek elections
French left and far right herald Syriza victory
Jean-Luc Melenchon, Alexis Tsipras and French Communist Party National Secretary Pierre Laurent share a light moment as they take part to a demonstration against austerity on April 12th, 2014 in Paris

French left and far right herald Syriza victory

Both the far left and the far right in France proclaimed the victory of Alexis Tsipras and anti-austerity radical left party Syriza in the Greek elections on Sunday. READ  

Paris Fashion week goes Haute Couture
Haute Couture from Schiaparelli. Photo: Screen grab.

Paris Fashion week goes Haute Couture

Paris Fashion Week shifts up a gear on Sunday with its marquee event: the Haute Couture shows that happen only in the French capital. READ  

Six skiers killed in avalanche in French Alps
Rescuers carry the body of one of six avalanche victims past the church in the village of Ceillac near the French border with Italy. Photo: JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT / AFP

Six skiers killed in avalanche in French Alps

Rescue workers on Sunday found the bodies of six skiers who went missing a day earlier after being carried away by an avalanche during a trek in the Queyras mountain range in the French Alps, police said. READ  

Israeli store drops Charlie Hebdo promo
A branch of Steimatzky in Ramat HaSharon. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/דוד שי

Israeli store drops Charlie Hebdo promo

An Israeli book chain has dropped plans for an in-store promotion for the latest edition of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, with a cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammed, local media said on Saturday. READ  

Frenchman charged with inciting children to jihad
Children being indoctrinated into supporting Islamic State. Photo: Elif Media

Frenchman charged with inciting children to jihad

A father-of-three, suspected of bombarding his children with violent images glorifying jihad, has been charged with "inciting acts of terrorism", prosecutors in south-eastern France said on Saturday. READ  

Charlie 'survivors issue' sells more than 7 million
Disappointed customers, hoping to get their hands on Charlie Hebdo are turned away from a news stand in Paris. Photo: The Local

Charlie 'survivors issue' sells more than 7 million

Circulation of the "survivors'" issue of Charlie Hebdo, published after a deadly attack on the French satirical weekly's Paris office, is set to top seven million, more than a hundred times its normal circulation, the distributor said Friday. READ  

Second Frenchman charged for Luxleaks
European Commission head Claude Juncker meets French President François Hollande. Photo: PATRICK KOVARIK / AFP

Second Frenchman charged for Luxleaks

A second French suspect was charged Friday with theft and money-laundering in ongoing investigations into the leaking of secret tax avoidance deals between Luxembourg and multinational companies, a scandal dubbed Luxleaks. READ  

Muslims pray for France as reprisals soar
Muslims pray at the Strasbourg Mosque in eastern France. Photo: AFP

Muslims pray for France as reprisals soar

Muslims at over 2,000 mosques in France will gather at 1:30pm on Friday to pray for France and its future. Meanwhile, there have been more anti-Muslim incidents recorded in the last two weeks in France than in the whole of 2014. READ  

Ten French words you'll never hear in France
Ten French words that you'll never hear in France. Photo: Shutterstock

Ten French words you'll never hear in France

Ever heard someone say "Tiggy-doo?" in France? It's French (actually spelled Tiguidou) and it's just one example of a long list of Gallic words that you'll never come across in France. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Health
Could France be the next country to ban sunbeds?
Gallery
Ten French words you will never hear in France
National
Wrap up warm: Big freeze to hit northern France at the weekend
National
Muslims in France - 'They say we're not French'
National
Paris wants New York-inspired 'citizen cards'
Gallery
An architect has shown how he thinks Paris should look in 2050
Culture
Where are the real "no-go zones" in Paris? We've listed 10.
Society
Cheese diet helps oldest Frenchman live to 110
National
Charlie Hebdo chief stands firm over cartoons as global protests spread
National
To be or not to be Charlie? Muhammad cartoons divide French
National
'It feels like I'm in a warzone': Paris tourist
National
Are there really 'no-go zones' in Paris?
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
National
A futuristic vision of Paris revealed... and other news
National
What now for France post-terror attacks?
National
France to beef up its surveillance powers
National
Charlie Hebdo sells out within hours in France
Politics
Paris attacks: Knock-on effects in Sweden and across Europe
National
France moves to crack down on terror speech in aftermath of attacks
National
French Muslims react to Charlie Hebdo's Muhammad cover
National
'I only had a few seconds to hide from the Kouachis'
National
After three days of terror France feels like a nation
National
IN PICTURES: France's biggest street demos in recent history
National
And in other news in France ...
National
A defiant France rises up on solidarity like never before
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Paris marches for unity after terror attacks
National
OPINION: 'As bloody as it's been, France is not at war'
National
'It's a true nightmare': Parisians react to terror attacks
National
French to march in unity to help heal their wounded nation
National
Profile: the most wanted woman in France
National
Twitter disgust over 'I am Kouachi' hashtag
National
The incredible stories of how some survived the Paris gunmen
National
Al Qaeda threatens a shaken France with more terror
Gallery
The Paris terror attacks from start to end in 27 photographs
National
Global leaders to stand side by side with France
National
French Muslim leaders slam 'odious' attacks
National
Charlie Hebdo gunmen killed as twin siege ends
Gallery
10 of the most powerful cartoons after the Charlie Hebdo attacks
National
Disunited: French far-right 'barred' from national unity rally in Paris
National
Muslim targets attacked after magazine killings
National
What we know about the Charlie Hebdo suspects
National
'They won't kill freedom' - The world's media react to the Paris attack
'We are all Charlie Hebdo' - France rallies for victims of terror attacks
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

464
jobs available