• France edition
 
Franco-Swiss feud splits Chinese painter's family
The artist in front of one of his works (Photo/Screenshot: Pantalaskas)

Franco-Swiss feud splits Chinese painter's family

Published: 21 Nov 2012 11:54 GMT+01:00
Updated: 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
France's rail company charged in crash deaths
Photo: AFP

France's rail company charged in crash deaths

France's state-owned railway company was charged with manslaughter on Thursday for the derailment in the Paris suburbs that killed seven people in 2013. A report slammed SNCF for a series of failures that lead to the crash. READ  

Air France pilots threaten 'unlimited' strike
Over half of Air France's flights remained grounded on Thursday due to a pilots' strike. Photo: AFP

Air France pilots threaten 'unlimited' strike

Air France pilots have threatened to continue their strike into a second week because management has not backed down on expanding a low-cost flight company. More than half of Air France flights remain grounded. READ  

French president to face reporters' questions
France's president to hold press conference on Thursday. Photo: AFP

French president to face reporters' questions

Amid seemingly endlass political and economic woes, France's historically unpopular President François Hollande is due to face the nation in long-awaited press conference on Thursday evening. READ  

Five killed as heavy storms strike France
Flash flooding killed three people in France and left two others missing. Photo: AFP

Five killed as heavy storms strike France

Five people have been killed after flood waters swept through a campground in France after unusually heavy later summer thunderstorms. READ  

First French Ebola patient headed home
The first French Ebola patient was to flown home on Thursday. Photo: AFP

First French Ebola patient headed home

A volunteer with Doctors Without Borders has become the first French person to contract Ebola in the outbreak which is the worst in history and has already claimed more than 2,400 lives READ  

VIDEO: Making of French rugby hunk calendar
Here's a sneak peak at France's much anticipated rugby hunk calendar. Photo: Screengrab/StadeFrançais

VIDEO: Making of French rugby hunk calendar

France's annual calendar featuring the country's rugby hunks has unveiled its cover boy for the 2015 edition, but also a video of the making of 'Les Dieux du Stade' that should interest fans of these lightly clothed fellows. READ  

French leader calls factory workers 'illiterate'
A French minister is in hot water after calling factory workers illiterate. Photo: Fred Tanneau/AFP

French leader calls factory workers 'illiterate'

France's whizzkid new economy minister has been begging for forgiveness after referring to women workers at a troubled factory as 'illiterates' just weeks after his boss President François Hollande was accused of calling the poor "toothless". READ  

Top French chefs want banned bird on menu
A group of French chefs would like to put this bird back on the menu. Photo: Sergey Pisarevskiy/Flickr

Top French chefs want banned bird on menu

Top French chefs, including Alain Ducasse, want to be able to serve a long-banned delicacy -- a tiny songbird that was a favourite of the late president François Mitterrand and is traditionally eaten whole while wearing a napkin over your head READ  

UK-bound migrants rush aboard trucks in Calais
UK-bound migrants rushed a truck (not this one) and fought with police in Calais. Photo: Denis Charlet/AFP

UK-bound migrants rush aboard trucks in Calais

Migrants who tried to force their way onto UK-bound trucks at the port of Calais on Wednesday prompted clashes with police, who responded with tear gas. It's the latest confrontation in the long-running migrant crisis that involves France and Britain. READ  

French police snare 'Jihad recruiters' in raids
French police busted a suspectd jihad recruitment cell. Photo: AFP

French police snare 'Jihad recruiters' in raids

As parliament debates a bill that would ban French citizens travelling abroad for jihad, police arrest six people suspected of recruiting candiates for "holy war" in the Middle East READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Fashion Ladies of the Local: Win a New Autumn Look
National
Ten great bars in Paris only locals know about
Society
France's top expat tribes: Which are you?
National
France to set flat-rate for Paris airport taxis
Politics
French separatists want Scots to say 'yes'
National
Anti-dog poo offensive launched in French town
National
Scammers attack Paris's top cop at tourist hotspot
National
French leader didn't pay his rent for three years
National
'WW2 bomb' kills camper on French island
Does France have a racism problem?
National
National
'Enough gloom, France is an amazing country'
Gallery
The top ten tourist traps to avoid in France
Politics
The juiciest bits from Trierweiler's tell-all book
Politics
Trierweiler tells all: 'Hollande wanted me back, at any price'
Education
'Sacre bleu!' Do the French really say that?
Politics
Manuel Valls has plenty in common with Tony Blair, but not background
International
Votes for expats: Plan to end UK's 15-year rule
Gallery
Ten dos and don'ts for keeping your French in-laws happy
National
Unemployment: How does France compare to Europe?
International
Are all the talented professionals really leaving France?
National
La France profonde: Is it a rural idyll or a backwater hell?
Travel
Check out the four new attractions coming to Paris this autumn
Gallery
The French words you can't translate literally
National
Ten things you need to know about France's economics whizzkid
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