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CHU TEH-CHUN (ZHU DEQUN, French/Chinese,  1920-2014)
CHU TEH-CHUN (ZHU DEQUN, French/Chinese, 1920-2014)

le 30, Oct 1985

CHU TEH-CHUN (ZHU DEQUN, French/Chinese, 1920-2014)
le 30, Oct 1985
signed in Chinese ; signed 'CHU TEH-CHUN' (lower right) ; signed in Chinese ; signed and titled 'CHU TEH-CHUN le 30, oct 1985' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
46 x 55 cm. (18 1/8 x 21 5/8 in.)
Painted in 1985
Private Collection, France (gift of the artist to the present owner in 1991)

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Eric Chang
Eric Chang

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Lot Essay

In 1965, Chu Teh-Chun was invited to the Rural Art Festival hosted in the Haute-Savoie region of France. As his airplane flew over the majestic Alps, the artist was awestruck by the splendour of the snowy mountains. It was not until 1985 did he return to this subject and painted the snowscape series - LE 30, OCT 1985 belongs to the early exploration stage of this period.

Majority of Chu Teh-Chun's paintings employs dark hues as the background. This treatment gives the picture an overall sense of depth, dominance, and strength. Amidst this dense background, dabs of turquoise and specks of flaming red flicker at the centre of the painting vivaciously. This playfulness is juxtaposed with the minimal colour palette and thus a rich tension is created. Compared to the 1960 work Eaux Profondes No. 63&i (Fig. 1), this work from a later date has a gloomier and more focused tone that is driven by the use of black ink. Surrounding the action at the centre of the painting, the artist endows the work with a sense of frigidness. As if shrouded by miles of rolling clouds, the brilliance of the colours brings airiness to the otherwise sombre picture. This magnificent imagery radiates a gracefulness that is at peace with nature - it is a metaphor for the change of seasons and the passage of time.

Line is the primary element in abstraction. The lines that Chu Teh-Chun used in his painting were steeped in the calligraphic discipline of Chinese characters. This work is filled with sinuous lines that were freely drawn by the nimble wrist of the artist. The lyrical outlines transcend the boundaries of the physical world. The black ink lines express a determination of the artist to investigate into the nature of being. Such philosophical pursuit is hidden within the painting.

Under the masterful modelling of space by Chu Teh-Chun, the modest size of the canvas successfully captures the wonders of the world. The opaque colour planes compliment the translucent oil paint washes in the foreground - this complex interweaving forms a multitude of visual layers. Between the intangibles and tangibles, different elements in the composition create a vastness where the spirits of the viewers can roam freely.

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