Chu Teh-Chun became skilled in traditional Chinese calligraphy as a child. The combination of strength and suppleness in its lines became the basis for the abstract landscape style he would later develop, and the source of its dramatic tension. Arriving in Paris, the abstract landscapes of Nicolas de Staël stimulated his imagination, and he entered a period of vigorous experimentation that produced a series of exquisite new works, each representing new advances and insights.
Chu's 1962 No. 115 (Lot 10) shows how he blended the Chinese literati painter tradition with a more Western balance of lightness and weight, while dividing the canvas with geometric lines and blocks of color to suggest space. In the lower part of the canvas, pulsating warm browns and brown-reds create depth, and their deep, weighty colors, along with Chu's brushwork, produce a stable foreground. This contrasts pleasingly with the graceful, relaxed jade-green tones in the upper section, and the vast sky, painted with ease and expansiveness, explores the extension of visual space. In Chu's color contrasts and their varying lightness and weight we see the artist seeking change through new kinds of variety; these contrasts are at the same time integrated in the painting's inner harmony of spirit.
Two paintings from 1965, No. 232 (Lot 7) and Abstract (Lot 67), along with Composition from 1975 (Lot 74), display the freedom and variety in Chu Teh-Chun's use of line. In the 1960s, his thick black lines created strong, rich vibration, while the 'steel lines and silver hooks' found in calligraphy, with its floating, twisting lines, created vivid and rhythmic movement on the paper. Chu's ink-wash painting in the '70s gave pure expression to his inner images, and the poetic, flowing alternation of solid forms and empty space became one of the aesthetic hallmarks of his abstract art.