(ZHU DEQUN, B. 1920)
Untitled No. 129
signed in Chinese; signed 'CHU TEH-CHUN' in Pinyin (lower right); signed in Chinese; signed 'CHU TEH-CHUN' in Pinyin; titled, inscribed and dated 'No. 129 (75 x 75) 1962' (on the reverse)
watercolour and gouache on paper
56 x 66 cm. (22 x 26 in.)
Painted in 1962
Private Collection, France

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Lot Essay

Zhang Yanyuan, famous art historian of the Tang Dynasty, once commented that, the essence is best captured by ink application which encompasses all five colours, while focusing too much on colours renders the images deviated. The term five colours is explained in different ways, some refer to it as dark as charred, rich, heavy, light and clear, others refer to it as rich, light, dry, wet and dark; all these characteristics represent the abundant variations produced by ink application. Chu Teh-Chun's Untitled No. 129 (Lot 1120) abbreviates this type of complex variation of colours, it demonstrates the light and graceful fluidity of water and ink, as well as the rich and viscosity of oil paints in only one colour; within the profuse variation of layers, the essence of landscape imagery is created. Although both Le 3 Mars 1975 (Lot 1121) and Le 25.10.1976 (Lot 1122), created in the mid 1970s, set their visual focuses at the bottom against the profundity of the surroundings, they present the different ways that the artist internalizes the meaning of the words to create this vertical composition. Le 3 Mars 1975 emphasizes on the delicate twisting of the lines, the large patch of rich orange-red against the dark brown background breaks through the unknown distance and depth to demonstrate a two-dimensional feature. But a vague light source seems to be revealed by the washes of white and yellowish green, creating a spatial conflict, which arouses our curiosity towards a further exploration in the painting. Le 25.10.1976, on the other hand, focuses more on the running bands of brushstrokes, the distinct variation of layers presented by the diluted ink, and a dynamic sense introduced by the static space by the swift brushstroke in the bright warm-toned front view, thus fully demonstrates Chu's unique comprehension of abstract Modernism.

In Chu Teh-Chun's more recent works, the calligraphic lines become more abstract and the building up of adjacent blocks of color become more complex. Chu says, "The elderly have the greatest spiritual resources because of their memories and long experience. In the '80s I started painting memories; I went roaming through my past. I want to remake my memories, to transform them, like the distillers in my hometown, and turn them into a liquor that burns through you as it goes down." In Chu Teh-Chun's major solo exhibition held in Belgium in 2006-2007, La Paix de' Esprit (Lot 1123) was selected as cover of the album. The artist created a unique picture in its extremely contrastive tones, and his ingenious application of colours, the light blue and brown across the picture echoes with each other. The colourful visual elements, which seem correspondent to Chu's decades of life experience, assemble at the centre under the vehement brushstrokes, to create an effect that is implicit yet filled with tension, and at the same time, present the artist's idea of the vitality and force of life.

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