CHU TEH-CHUN (ZHU DEQUN, 1920-2014)
CHU TEH-CHUN (ZHU DEQUN, 1920-2014)
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PROPERTY FROM AN ASIAN PRIVATE COLLECTION
CHU TEH-CHUN (ZHU DEQUN, 1920-2014)

Franchissement (Crossing)

Details
CHU TEH-CHUN (ZHU DEQUN, 1920-2014)
Franchissement (Crossing)
signed in Chinese, signed and dated ‘CHU TEH-CHUN 90’ (lower right); titled ‘Franchissement’ (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
130 x 195 cm. (51 1⁄8 x 76 3⁄4 in.)
Painted in 1990
Provenance
Private Collection, Asia

The authenticity of the artwork has been confirmed by Fondation Chu Teh-Chun, Geneva. If a certificate has not already been issued, a certificate of authenticity can be requested for the successful buyer.

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Emmanuelle Chan
Emmanuelle Chan Head of 20th century art day sale

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Lot Essay

In the 1990s, Chu Teh-Chun produced a series of works that perfectly showcased his exploration with light and shadow, along with forms and colours. As he continued to gravitate towards this artistic direction, Chu described it as a journey down memory lane, where spiritually he had travelled far and wide to be in a mental state to freely portray the intimate sceneries he had envisioned in mind.

His handling of colours to represent elements of light and dark were seamlessly executed in Crossing (lot 334) – appearing for the first time at auction, this is an iconic example created at the height of Chu’s mature period. The free and uncontrolled brushstrokes wielded on canvas are all crafted with great skill and precision, resulting in a balanced and cohesive composition. Chu also used layers of translucent colours to mimic the effects of light emanating from the centre of the work. With rays of light breaking through the darkness on the horizon, he fills the work with rich details and subtle painterly layers comparable to the artistic technique of the impressionists.

The artist’s emotions are also delicately conveyed through Chu’s clever use of colours. By mixing and splashing pigments freely, he creates a flowy movement across the composition. Unlike his contemporary Willem de Kooning’s approach of using thick impasto to create abstract paintings, Chu adopts traditional Chinese calligraphy as his source of inspiration. While de Kooning’s work evokes a sense of shock, Chu imposes the spirit of Chinese landscape painting in his works through vivid imagery and his imaginative use of space – the perfect display of power and elegance in one work. His work also exudes beautiful musicality as portrayed in Double Ecstasy (lot 333). Painted in 1999, this work fully illustrates the artist’s masterful weave of infusing the sonata of light, shadows and rhythm on the canvas. Creating lyrical and explosive energy within this piece, thus elevating abstract art to a higher level.

Chu Teh-Chun's artistic roots started when he pursued art at the Hangzhou School of Arts. It was during his studies when he learnt more about Chinese expressionism, an art form favoured by Pun Tianshou; as well as modern abstract art from France advocated by Lin Fengmian. Under the mentorship of both masters, it inspired Chu to blend Western modern and Chinese traditional art together. Chu later continued his further studies by travelling to France in the 1950s, where he took Western abstract expressionism to new heights by imbuing oriental elements within his works. Chu’s achievements were recognized in 1997 when he was elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts – being the first Chinese artist to receive such an honor.

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