CHU TEH-CHUN (1920-2014)

Lot 84
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60 000 - 80 000 EUR
Result : 143 000 EUR

CHU TEH-CHUN (1920-2014)

Composition n°411, 1971
Oil on cardboard mounted on canvas, signed lower right, countersigned, dated and numbered on reverse
64.5 x 50 cm - 25 3/8 x 19 11/16 in.

Un certificat de la Fondation Chu Teh-Chun datant de juin 2020, sera remis à l’acquéreur.

Collection privée, Occitanie

The work we are presenting today dates from a significant time for Chu Teh-Chun, for 1971 was the year when he took up calligraphy again, and set up his studio in Bagnolet. It was also a period when the work of Rembrandt took on a key role in his conception of art, after he discovered him at an Amsterdam exhibition in 1969.
The style and technique of this work resonate with the Chinese pictorial tradition imbuing Chu Teh-Chun’s work from the start. Composition no. 411 is a synthesis of the Flemish master’s browns, light and shade and those prevalent with Chu Teh-Chun throughout his early career. Meanwhile, the more emphatic colours serve the piece as a whole, enhancing the movement and gradation rather than playing a central role in the composition. The influence of traditional Chinese calligraphy, a practice Chu Teh-Chun returned to in 1971, can be seen in the precise, fluid gestures that make this work so vibrant.

Chu Teh-Chun (1920-2014) was born in Jiangsu province, not far from the banks of the Yangtze River. He came from an erudite family, and learned the art of great traditional Chinese calligraphy. In 1935, he entered the Hangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, a school directed by the artist Lin Fengmian, recently returned from his own studies at the Fine Arts schools in Paris and Dijon. Chu Teh-Chun’s work was highly successful in Taiwan, and he decided to go to France in 1955.
The Nicolas de Staël retrospective staged shortly afterwards in 1956 at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris was a dazzling revelation for him. Abandoning the figurative painting he had studied in China, he turned resolutely to abstraction, seeing it as a way of reconciling his calligraphic art with the inspiration he had newly found in France. His work developed considerably. In 1958, he signed a six-year exclusive contract with the Henriette Legendre gallery. This enabled him to focus solely on abstract art, which he continued to explore for the rest of his life. It also led to numerous exhibitions, including abroad, and his career began to flourish in France, China and the United States.
Chu Teh-Chun was finally acclaimed by major French institutions. He was first admitted to the Institute as a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts, where he gave his acceptance speech on 3 December 1999, describing his work as follows: «Though never coinciding, colour and graphics contribute to the same goal: to awaken light, forms and movement.» Between 2007 and 2009, he produced a series of fifty-eight vases for the Sèvres Factory, entitled «De neige, d’or et d’azur» («Of snow, gold and sky blue»), at the meeting point between the great traditions of French and Chinese porcelain.
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