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(ZHU DEQUN, French/Chinese, B. 1920)

(ZHU DEQUN, French/Chinese, B. 1920)
Composition No. 564
signed in Chinese; signed 'CHU TEH-CHUN' (lower right)
oil on canvas
90 x 70 cm. (35 7/8 x 27 1/2 in.)
Painted in 1974
Private Collection, Asia

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Lot Essay

"We can 'read' his gestures with the brush as mountains or clouds, as waves, as the cosmic swirl of Chaos at the beginning of the world-visionary forms, forever appearing and dissolving before our eyes. Like the dragons in a Chan painting by the Song Dynasty master Chen Rong, Chu's images occupy some mysterious realm between form and the formless, the temporal and the eternal." - Michael Sullivan

Beginning in the 1970s, Chu Teh-Chun became concerned with exploring colour and composition in his artistic practice, achieving a more fully developed personal aesthetic expression. Chu sought new innovation based on his own rich cultural background and heritage to create a unique, new, Eastern style of abstraction. In Composition No. 564 (Lot 148), painted in 1974, flowing brushwork moves up and down and across the canvas to suggest clouds drifting or water flowing in the dark. Planes of colour emerge and leap into a great void. Chu Teh-Chun's lyrical, poetic brushwork describes a mysterious, fathomless space that seems somewhere between form and formlessness, as if capturing the moment in which a lone light breaks the silence of the dark night. Brown tones form the basic palette of the work, while the subtle shifting between the lighter and darker shades creates an ethereal ambience. A saturated orb of white glimmers through the rich dark tones like a light source, encircled with various shades of brown. The strong contrast of light and dark creates a quietly dramatic effect, echoing the influences of Rembrandt, whose skillful use of light deeply inspired Chu. This work offers many clues to what Chu Teh-Chun learned from Western classical painting, and illustrates just how much this artist had absorbed, in technique and in spirit, from both the East and the West.

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