This work is referenced in the archive of the artist's studio.
An intimate poetic synthesis of pure form and colour, Composition (Untitled) is a striking example of Chu The-Chun’s early abstract style that beautifully demonstrates his rich and accomplished brushwork. Presenting the viewer with an enchanting abstract landscape, Chu here lets his paintbrush dance across the canvas – painting a dense ground of pure red and orange colour that is punctuated by expressive crimson patches, and impulsively pulling thin black brushstrokes up and down to form a complex web of lines and geometric forms. As such, Composition (Untitled) fully testifies to Chu’s masterful straddling of Chinese ink painting and Western modernism that the artist’s move to Paris in 1955 prompted. Chu, who had a been trained in traditional Chinese painting alongside Wu Guanzhong and Zao Wou-Ki, had formerly taught Western art at the National Taiwan Normal University. It was only upon moving to France, however, that he could see in flesh the Western paintings he had once studied from reproductions. Exposed to the language of European and American Abstract Expressionism, particularly Nicolas de Staël’s abstract landscape paintings, Chu abandoned figurative painting for an abstract language. Whilst recalling the spontaneous brushwork, automatism and intuition of the prevailing Art Informel and Tachisme movement, Chu’s unique artistic language is notably heir to traditional Chinese ink painting, where the brushstroke serves to reveal a rich spiritual state. Going beyond mere representation, Chinese literati embraced brushstrokes as tangible traces of the calligrapher’s feelings and as physical manifestation of the individual’s physical presence. Painted in 1958, this work witnesses the maturity of Chu’s artistic practice and magnificently anticipates the international acclaim he would be propelled to through an exhibition of works at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh only a few years later in 1964.