Auction | China Guardian (HK) Auctions Co., Ltd.
2019 Autumn Auctions
Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art

Chu Teh-Chun (1920-2014)
Sans Titre(Painted in 2008)

Ink and watercolour on paper

135 x 68 cm. 53 1/8 x 26 3/4 in.

Signed in Chinese and English, dated on bottom right
Original Collection of the artist
Private Collection, Paris
Private Collection, Switzerland
7 Jun 2017, Sotheby's Paris Spring Auction, Lot 125
Important Private Collection, Asia

This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued and signed by Mrs. Chu Ching Chao of Atelier Chu Teh-Chun

Smooth Brushstrokes, Deep Thoughts
Chu Teh-Chun's artistic conception combines cultural connotation with skillful painting.

“Although I create Western paintings, the connotations and spirit of my paintings are entirely derived from Chinese tradition. Abstract paintings blend in the characteristics of poetry and music, and my paintings blend in the essence and soul of Chinese art.”
Chu Teh-Chun

Chu Teh-Chun, a master of Chinese abstract painting, has been hailed as the Song dynasty painter of the 20th century. His life's creations were inspired by traditional poetry, ink painting, and calligraphy. After settling in France in 1955, he combined his own culture with Western abstract art. As his popularity increased, in the 1990s, Chu resumed painting on paper and combined ink painting with watercolors to maximize the visual effect. Sans Titre, dated 2008, is one of his late ink and watercolor works. Due to its large size, it is a true rarity, as during the past decade, only four of Chu's large-scale paintings have appeared on the market. Sans Titre has been in the artist's possession since its completion, so it has therefore been well preserved and has high collection value.
Artistic Creation with Calligraphic Skills

“Skillful brushstrokes allow for any artistic effect desired.”
Wu Zhonggui

While observing Chu's works after 2005, one can discover that he has applied calligraphic techniques in his abstract paintings. This is quite obvious in Sans Titre, which fully reveals his profound talent in calligraphy. He uses straight lines and curves, with a rich variety of changes and majestic momentum. The dense strokes are reminiscent of semi-cursive and cursive Chinese scripts, an embodiment of the line, “Plunging waterfalls giving competitive roars and shocks,” from a poem by Li Bai. In addition to the spontaneous ink lines, the artist also created a large area using transparent, light green watercolor, with the red and green dots adding emotion to the picture, guiding the viewer to appreciate the work from a variety of perspectives. The imagery is exaggerated and lyrical, not only reflecting the traditional Chinese concept that painting and calligraphy come from similar origins, but also incorporating the spiritual expression of Western abstract painting.

Depicting Nature with Brushstrokes and Reflecting the Grandeur of Mountains
Sans Titre embodies the understanding of Chinese tradition that Chu had accumulated over the past decades: the abstract points, lines, and surfaces manifest the imagination and poetic perfection of ink paintings, while the vertical composition reflects the “freehand” style of traditional ink paintings. The artist used ink to reveal the shape of the mountain, a firm display of the essence of Tang and Song landscape paintings. The composition itself is reminiscent of Waiting for the Ferry at a Mountain Creek by Guan Tong: the giant mountain on the left side of the work forms a type of visual tension and contrasts with the hill on the right side, while the combination of thick and light ink expresses the layering of the rocks. French art critic J.C. Lambert commented, “His paintings are poetic meditations on the world.” Although Sans Titre uses traditional composition, its focus is the relationship between poetry and oriental ink painting, not on the utilization of forms and techniques. The artist's inner performance is reminiscent of the abstract lines of Cy Twombly paintings, but this work not only shows the inner feelings of one observing external phenomena, but also transposes inner feelings onto external objects and reproduces the sense of space and momentum as seen in traditional landscape paintings, showing the spirit of returning to innocence.

Price estimate:
HKD: 1,500,000 – 2,500,000
USD: 191,300 – 318,800

Auction Result:
HKD: --



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