• Zhong Cheng 2016 Autumn Auction「Morden And Contemporary Art」
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    CHU TEHCHUN (1920-2014 )



    Oil on Canvas
    160x130 cm

    Signed CHU TEH-CHUN in Chinese and English, dated 84 Signed on the reverse: CHU TEH-CHUN in English and Chinese, dated 5 May 1984 in French

    Estimate TWD 26,000,000-32,000,000
    USD 830,700-1,022,400
    HKD 0-0

    Hammer Price TWD 30,720,000
    USD 960,300
    HKD 7,420,290

With a certificate of authenticity issued by family members of Chu Teh-Chun

Provenance:PROVENANCE: Private Collection, Asia




"What I paint is both my feeling towards nature and the feeling that nature instills in me. You might go so far as to say that the work is the spiritual crystallization of my relationship with nature."
- Chu Teh-Chun

Chu Teh-Chun was born in Jiangsu Province, China in 1920. He graduated from Hangzhou School of Art (now known as China Academy of Art) in 1941. He took the post of professor at the Department of Fine Arts of National Taiwan Normal University after moving to Taiwan in 1949. His early style shows a strong influence from Impressionism and Fauvism, capturing the form and the spirit, which resonates with Xieyi, the traditional Chinese freehand style. After moving to France in 1955 to further his study, he was immersed in the multifaceted styles of painting and inspired to further develop the abstract elements in Chinese paintings in pursuit of the pure essence of painting. With wild strokes, high spirit, and rich connotations in Chinese ink painting and calligraphy, he constructed a poetic natural space, imbuing new life into Western paintings with Eastern Zen philosophy of capturing what’s beyond the form. This is “abstract landscape”. After devoting half a century to painting, Chu was inducted into the Académie des Beaux-Arts, the most prestigious status awarded in the world to the laureate of art. He was also the first Chinese inductee in the Academy’s 200-year history.

The Loudest is Not Speech Replete; the Greatest Has No Shape Concrete.

Conflict, contrast, fusion and resonance in the lines and color blocks are the emphasis in Chu’s paintings, capricious and yet equable. The connecting energy steers with free spirit and the force of calligraphy strokes, rising and cascading like lyrical movements with various dynamics, tempos and pitch. Chu once said, “My paintings are harmonious culminations of my goals – the light source, the form and the rhythm.” He expanded from Kandinsky’s (1866-1944) idea toward abstract. Diluting the oil paint with dynamic brushstrokes, moving speed and color rendering, traces of the moving force is evident, creating the calligraphic style of writing with both ink and energy. Meanwhile, the strong light source enhances the abstraction in his work. The placement of the light source, dynamic brushwork and layered colors structured the sense of time and space. 

Chu created distinct lexicons with these techniques, using light as the medium to transform the rhythmic musicality into spatial images. Wu Guangzhong once described the rhythmic movement in Chu’s work with “bold as the gusty rain; fine as the whispered words”. Chu also mentioned how he viewed his own painting during a conversation, “Watching a painting is like listening to the music.” After a long period of trial and exploration, he synthesized Eastern and Western art into his own abstract style. The image and the rhythms echo and linger, resonating with the viewers time and again. 

Wax and Wane, the Esoteric; the Ultimate Stillness Lies in the Dynamic  

Composition was completed in 1984. Wide strokes created splashes of intertwining light and shadow, profound and recluse. Green, gray, white and brown seep through the thin layers of paint, elegant and extensive, giving the piece a sense of sensuality and spirituality. The image is unadorned and yet kaleidoscopic. The obscure silhouette of the indistinct color blocks surfaced on the large canvas, resembling the gridlock between daylight and night shadows at dawn, ambiguous, misty and aloof. Chu used the stark contrast during the natural transition of pure colors to perpetuate the movement of light from the image, diffracting at times, reflecting at times, diffusing perhaps, concentrated perhaps, carefully processing and highlighting the rim of light, creating the sense of layer and space that draws out a supreme realm of fantasy. 

Hubert Juin, (1926-1987) French writer, poet, contemporary art critic and a dear friend of Chu once said, “Chu’s paintings are not to be read, but to be pondered and meditated upon.” Chu’s free-flowing brushwork depicts the magnificence of the vast universe, culminating in the unfathomable. He drew from the philosophy of Laozi and Zhuangzi as well as the traditional painting style of Xieyi, and created his own abstract. He truly understood the expressions and spirit of both the Eastern and Western art. He explored the nuances of heaven and earth beyond the physical form, and the inner spirit of human beings. The spiritual glow illuminates, setting the aesthetic paradigm, the symbol of an era.  

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