signed and dated 'Chu Teh-Chun 93.', signed in Chinese (lower right)
oil on canvas
200 x 200 cm. (78 3/4 x 78 3/4 in.)
Painted in 1993
Anon. Sale, Christie’s Hong Kong, 28 May 2006, Lot 185
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
The authenticity of this artwork has been confirmed by the Fondation Chu Teh-Chun, Geneva.
Philippe Monsel, Cercle d’ Art Publications, Chu Teh-Chun, Paris, France, 1993 (illustrated, p. 212-213).
Gilbert Erouart and Michel Noel, Le Loup de Gouttiere inc, Signes Premiers, exh. cat., Quebec, Canada, 1994 (illustrated, p. 55).
Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Exposition de Chu Teh-Chun Peinture recentes 1985-1996, exh. cat., Taipei, Taiwan, 1997 (illustrated, p.70-71).
Beijing, National Art Museum of China, Chu Teh-Chun—Un trait d’union entre la France et la Chine, exh. cat., Beijing, China, 1997 (illustrated, p. 32).
Liao Qiong-Fang, Artist Publishing Co., Overseas Chinese Fine Arts Series II : Chu Teh-Chun, Taipei, Taiwan, 1999 (illustrated, p. 259).
Shanghai Museum, Chu Teh-Chun, exh. cat., Shanghai, China, 2000 (illustrated, p.60-61).
Geraldine Pfeffer-Levy (ed.), Galerie Enrico Navarra, Chu Teh-Chun, Paris, France, 2000 (illustrated, p.177).
The Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery, Chu Teh-Chun and His Universe, exh. cat., Hong Kong, 2004 (illustrated, p.9-10).
The Ueno Royal Museum, Solo Exhibition of Chu Teh-Chun, exh. cat., Tokyo, Japan, 2007 (illustrated, p. 272).
National Museum of History & Thin Chang Corporation, Chu Teh-Chun 88 Retrospective, exh. cat., Taipei, Taiwan, 2008 (illustrated, p. 160).
Beijing, China, National Art Museum of China, Chu Teh-Chun Un trait d’union entre la France et la Chine, May - June 1997. This exhibition later travelled to Taipei, Taiwan, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Exposition de Chu Teh-Chun Peinture recents 1985-1996 Extras des Profondeurs, 1997, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Kaohsiung Fine Arts Museum, 1997.
Shanghai, China, Shanghai Museum, Chu Teh-Chun, September - November 2000.
Hong Kong, The Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery, Chu Teh-Chun and His Universe, May - June 2004.
Tokyo, Japan, The Ueno Royal Museum, Solo Exhibition of Chu Teh-Chun, June - July 2007.
Taipei, Taiwan, National Museum of History, Chu Teh-Chun 88 Retrospective, September - November 2008.

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Kimmy Lau
Kimmy Lau

Lot Essay

In 1990, Chu Teh-Chun moved to a larger studio in Vitry-sur-Seine, just outside of Paris. Now able to work in a high-ceiling studio surrounded by large windows allowing natural light to take over as main source of lighting, the artist gradually moved away from his snow series to explore with large formats. Working on vast surfaces helps him push the boundaries of his language and exploration. As his support grew bigger, so did his material: he used wide and supple brushes, which provide a multitude of options to work with colour depth and composition.

Among his large formats from the 1990s, Stability figures among a specific series. During that decade, fewer than ten were painted in square format measuring two by two metres. Published multiple times, Stability is the most beautiful, where the powerful contrast of large strokes of light emerging from obscurity illustrates the artist’s creation of a new language. He began to shift towards inner explorations, which the artist described as "roaming among my memories." Spiritually he travelled far and wide, freely portraying the inner scenery he envisioned, and thus produced this series of works. French art critic Jean-Francois Chabrun once described Chu Teh-Chun as a "20th century Song Dynasty painter", praising him for integrating creative spirits of Western abstract art with traditional Chinese landscape compositions and poetic portrayals of time and space.

In order to capture the fast-changing and fluid light, Chu created a translucent paint that rendered an ethereal brushstroke. Oil paint has never before been so feathery and impalpable. Coloured masses are light and tender, almost as if they were washes of ink on rice paper, dancing along the rhythm created by refractions of light. Thin and translucent paint surrounds the denser masses, with light interlacing and reflecting, in a rendering close to Song Dynasty painter Fan Kuan. Imageries floating down, circulating, wandering around, we see through clouds the real, the fabled, the discernible and the intangible.

In 1990, Chu Teh-Chun and his wife Chu Ching-Chao travelled to Venice in Italy. Chu had had first revelation in 1956 when he discovered Nicolas de Stael’s work during a retrospective at the Paris Museum of Modern Art, setting up a path toward abstraction. He realised he could express the essence of his vision through abstract blocks of colour. His trip to Venice however exposed him to Italian masters Tintoretto, Titien, Giorgione, Carpaccio, Veronese. Our painting Stability directly draws from Chu’s study of Renaissance practice of chiaroscuro.

At the beginning of the 1990s, Chu was deeply affected by geopolitical events of the time, in particular the Gulf War. His painting Light Beyond Plagues was the first of the series to reflect on his feeling and reaction to dark and violent events of the world. The emergence of light provides a glimpse of hope , which is expressed in his painting Hope painted in 1991. Stability was painted two years later, and seemingly conveys Chu’s interpretation of the situation. In this context, the title of the painting becomes an important component of the artist’s work. Allying poetry and painting, as is the tradition in Chinese literati tradition, the subtle multitude of colours, the depth of field, and the energy of the brush stroke help define Stability as an essential masterpiece in Chu Teh-Chun’s body of work.

As Chu’s work reached a high level of maturity in the 1990s, so does his international recognition. By this time, he had travelled back to Asia, and started to exhibit regularly in Asia, following his first important retrospective in 1987 in Taiwan. Stability travelled to Canada for an exhibition on Riopelle, Kijno and Chu. These three artists all had a different approach to the influence of their original background in their work once they had been exposed to the Parisian art scene. Stability epitomizes Chu’s ability to grow stronger from his initial cultural and artistic training to explore in his own way the essence of nature.

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