Lot 536
  • 536

Chu Teh-Chun (Zhu Dequn)

6,000,000 - 8,000,000 HKD
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  • Chu Teh-Chun
  • Plus loin
  • oil on canvas
signed in pinyin and Chinese; signed in Chinese, titled and dated 1978 on the reverse


Important Private European Collection


Le Havre, Musée André Malraux, Chu Teh-Chun, 1982


This work is in good condition overall. There is evidence of very slight accretions across the surface of the painting, primarily a 4 cm white accretion at the lower left corner, presumably inherent to the artist's working method. There is evidence of slight craquelure across the surface of the work, particularly in the lower and upper center. There are slight paint losses along the edges. There is no evidence of restoration under UV.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Please note that colour, clarity and weight of gemstones are statements of opinion only and not statements of fact by Sotheby's. We do not guarantee, and are not responsible for any certificate from a gemological laboratory that may accompany the property. We do not guarantee that watches are in working order. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue, in particular to the Notice regarding the treatment and condition of gemstones and to the Notice regarding import of Burmese jadeite and rubies into the US.

Catalogue Note

This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist and will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné on the work of Chu Teh-Chun, being prepared by Atelier Chu Teh-Chun. (Information provided by Atelier Chu Teh-Chun and Mrs. Chu Ching-Chao)

Plus loin by Chu Tec-Chun

The Chinese master of lyrical abstraction Chu Teh-Chun studied at the Hangzhou National Colleague of Art with Wu Guanzhong and Zao Wou-Ki. He learned Western paintings from Wu Dayu and Chinese ink paintings from Pan Tianshou besides studying calligraphy on his own, which helped develop his understanding of the essence of Western and Chinese aesthetics. In 1955, during the movement of abstract art, Chu went to Paris in pursuit of his studies. When artists continuously strived to innovate their own artistic language, Chu, as an artist from the East, was one of them. As Shitao's description of his relation with mountains and rivers: "I am in them and they are in me," he learned from nature and transformed his feelings and the inspiration and influence nature gave him into beautiful colors and lines to create many outstanding works. Chu's spontaneous brushstroke representing Chinese calligraphy aesthetics and the soul and spirit of ink paintings express the oriental culture and powerful energy, which makes his vibrant works receive wide acclaim from Western art critics. As Lydia Harambourg once said:

"Western artists only paint things they can see, while Eastern painters unite with the cosmos. In Chu's work, the rising patterns before the light and the colors of contemplation are as part of the university. After over 50 years in Paris, Chu has truly become an art master in the 20th century."

Tracing back to Chu's works of the 1950s and 1960s, art critic Gao Tianmin comments that during this period Chu observed the world to create his art based on the Western thinking, such as drawing from nature, but at the same time to analyze his own Chinese culture into its different aspects. Besides, he also tried different possibilities, combined various art media and developed a unique and characteristic style in his art completed in this phase. The threshold point of Chu's artistic creation appeared in the 1970s. Instead of painting objects he saw, he embarked on depicting his inner state. The Western influence in his art was subdued and Chu has been transforming his being in the West with his Chinese wisdom to construct his distinguishing art world. In 1976, Chu commenced painting a series of ink brush works which he had stopped creating for a long time, exploring the unique sensibility of traditional ink paintings to retrospect the origin of Chinese spiritual images. As he recalls:

"After seeing all world-famous Western paintings in Paris, I realized Chinese paintings are more implicit and poetic. Chinese painting has much in common with Western abstract painting. Actually, traditional Chinese painting has already developed its own kind of abstract style. Starting from Tang and Song Dynasties, traditional Chinese landscape painting has embodied abstract elements and concepts. In the early Qing Dynasty, Shitao and Bada's works are even more abstract and non-representational. I discover the Chinese painting techniques and Chinese traditional culture I have learned and experienced before have been appearing in my oil paintings without me knowing it."

In Plus loin, completed in 1978, Chu uses bold, large and powerful brushstorkes, sometimes tender and other times vibrant, to render the essence of Chinese aesthetics and the musical rhythm. From the way his brushstrokes move, we can see the artist's dynamic energy that is present in the warmth of orange-red and yellow. Chu's stunningly bright and pure palette is glimmering against the delicate and still blue, while the invigorating and intense red flame and the beam of white light are implying a life of hope and passion. As the member of the French Academy Jean- Pierre Angremy described:

"The world we see in front of our eyes is like a maze of the dark. We are all expecting the revival of life and the burning kindling to reveal the new 'The Rite of Spring' to us...... Chu is like the iconic finger painted by Michelangelo on the Sistine Chapel's ceiling launching the Genesis...... Let us listen to 'The Rite of Spring' by Stravinsky. When we hear the ardent energy in the last movement expressing the hope for the future, we can discover the stunning light of life perpetually emanating from Chu's planet."

Let us follow Chu's art to travel to the Earth's core, climbing over the hills and boulders to feel the light in our hearts.