Lot 1015
  • 1015

CHU TEH-CHUN | Terre du Nan-King

3,000,000 - 6,000,000 HKD
5,215,000 HKD
bidding is closed


  • Chu Teh-Chun
  • Terre du Nan-King
  • signed in Chinese and Pinyin; signed in Pinyin and Chinese, dated 1960, numbered 47 and titled in Chinese and French on the reverse 
  • oil on canvas
  • 81 by 65 cm; 31 ⅞ by 25 ⅝ in. 
Galerie H. Le Gendre and Edouard Malingue Gallery labels affixed to the stretcher on the reverse 


Galerie H. Le Gendre, Paris
Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong
Important Private Asian Collection 

Catalogue Note

Shaking Paris: A Cultural Summons from the Far EastAt the forefront of the European painting scene in the mid-1950s were Georges Mathieu, Hans Hartung, and other French artists at the new wave of Lyrical Abstraction. They were a rich source of inspiration for Chu Teh-Chun, who had newly arrived in Paris. In 1956, Chu by chance saw a retrospective for Soviet artist Nicolas de Staël at the Musée National d'Art Moderne. The layered compositions and loaded colours were a marvel, which prompted him to develop bold abstractions in his own work. By 1958, Chu's unique abstract language caught the eye of Maurice Panier, director of Galerie H. Legendre, and they signed a six-year contract. Terre du Nan-King (Lot 1015) was created during this time.

In 1960, the year this work was painted, Galerie H. Legendre held Chu's first solo exhibition, and the calligraphic lines in his abstract compositions intrigued many Western art critics. Hubert Juin, an important writer and critic in the French scene wrote Chu Teh-Chun at Galerie H. Legendre for Les Lettres Francaises that same year, expressing his admiration for Chu's work. Carefully promoted by his gallery, Chu Teh-Chun represented Chinese artists in France in a group show for the School of Paris at Galerie Charpentier in October 1960, and he became a member of the School of Paris. Terre du Nan-King was created in this important year. In the beginning, Chu drew upon his own cultural foundation, but then he moved beyond to embark upon a free exploration of abstract language.

Blending Images and Emotions: Artistic Passions Traversing Thousands of Miles

The imposing ochre background and the hearty, bold black lines that zigzag up and down, passionately surging through the work, are reminiscent of the thick, emotionally-charged black lines of Hartung's work from the 1950s. Between the layered lines, Chu Teh-Chun added bright blocks of gradated colour, creating a sense of depth and layering—a microcosm of the city is faintly visible between the concrete and the illusory. Amidst these interdependent lines and shapes, a ball of white light gradually seeps down from the middle. Here, he merged the poetry and lyricism of Chinese landscape painting into the natural cycles of life, seeking wisdom in balance.

In addition to artistic form, Chu Teh-Chun focused on melding experience and interior emotion, which is powerfully highlighted by the title. Nanjing was China's post-war capital and home to many talented artists. Chu had lived and worked there before he moved to Taiwan in 1949. In those three years, he met many prominent figures in artistic and political circles. Chu would prove unconcerned about to fame and fortune, and his modest, scholarly attitude would garner praise and approval. Encouraged by these true friends, he had the confidence to leave China and push his art onto the international stage. Terre du Nan-King embodies Chu Teh-Chun's treasured memories of years past, as well as his passion and hope as he moved into the international art world. Many allusions have been integrated into the brushwork, offering collectors boundless dynamism and resonance.