CHU TEH-CHUN

朱德群

Chu Teh-Chun (1920 - 2014) is widely considered one of the most significant Chinese artists. He started his career in Hangzhou, China in the 1930s and eventually moved to Paris in 1955. Throughout the 20th century, his abstract paintings were exhibited all over the world, charming critics and art lovers with his ingenious blend of Chinese and French cultural elements and symbols.

Gracefully pushing back the limits of the real and the unreal, his paintings, which are vibrant and full of movement, have a profound sense of depth, poetry and musicality. Although his work demonstrates the stylistic freedom of mid-century movements such as art informel and abstract expressionism, Chu always retained the rigorous technical brushwork he learned as a student in mainland China.

“I came to Paris in the spring of 1955 to find the answer to a profound aspiration. I had to discover my own way, through my knowledge and practice of Western painting” – Chu Teh-Chun

Chu Teh-Chun

Composition,
novembre, 1989
Oil on canvas
100 x 81 cm | 39.4 x 31.9 in

In my paintings, colour and line are never coincidental. They work together toward the same goals: to conjure light, and to evoke image and poetry.
– Chu Teh-Chun

Chu Teh-Chun

Complexité
2001
Oil on canvas
130 x 195.5 cm | 51.2 x 77 in

Chu Teh-Chun

Untitled
1970
Oil on canvas
65 x 62 cm | 25.6 x 24.4 in

Chu Teh-Chun

Sans titre
1984
Gouache on Paper
50 x 65 cm | 19.7 x 25.6 in

Chu Teh-Chun

Signes Impératifs
1991
Oil on canvas
65 x 54 cm | 25.6 x 21.3 in

©Fondation Chu Teh-Chun.
There has never been anything random about the colours or lines in my paintings. Between them they harmoniously strive toward the same goal: a source of light that activates the paintings and galvanizes their images and rhythms.
– Chu Teh-Chun

Chu Teh-Chun

Ton orangé
1991
Oil on canvas
54 x 65 cm | 21.3 x 25.6 in

Chu Teh-Chun

Matin de fête
1990
Oil on canvas
146 x 114 cm | 57.5 x 44.9 in

Chu Teh-Chun

Untitled
1974
Oil on canvas
92 x 72 cm | 36.2 x 28.3 in

Chu Teh-Chun

Ondes émotives
2007
Oil on canvas
81 x 100 cm | 31.9 x 39.4 in

When I paint a painting, it always feels like part of my lifelong journey. Sometimes, it's an irresistible, momentary impulse; other times, it's a memory from long ago, perhaps even something forgotten, that the canvas called back to mind.
– Chu Teh-Chun

Chu Teh-Chun

Apaisement du réel
2005
Oil on canvas
73 x 100 cm | 28.7 x 43.3 in

Chu Teh-Chun

Composition No. 10
2008
Mounted scroll, ink and colour on paper
90,5 x 68,5 cm | 35.6 x 27 in

In the past, I knew that making paintings meant painting my own perceptions, but it's no easy matter to do so. I painted with all my effort, using oil paint and lines to pursue my perceptions. Today, I can finally get out all the ideas in my mind. It’s not until now that I feel that I can freely express all the things that I want to express.
– Chu Teh-Chun, interview with Lion Art magazine, 1985
© Galerie Diane de Polignac

Chu Teh-Chun

Untitled
1998
India ink wash on paper
68 x 136 cm | 26.8 x 53.5 in

Chu Teh-Chun

Untitled
1995
Ink on paper
137,3 x 68,2 cm | 54.1 x 26.9 in

Chu Teh-Chun

Composition No. 133
1962
Oil on canvas
65 x 81 cm | 25.6 x 31.9 in

©Tokonoma
In 1964, an exhibition of Chu Teh-Chun's works at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburg, USA, brought him international fame and he has had several major exhibitions throughout his career, most notably at the Shanghai Art Museum and at Beijing's National Art Museum of China. Today, his works are held in over 50 institutions worldwide including Bibliothéque Nationale, Paris; Direction du Centre hospitalier de Brunet, Toulon; Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China; Maison de la Culture de la Société des Eaux, Marseille; Musée des beaux-arts André Malraux, Le Havre, France; Musée Cernuschi, Paris; National Museum, Dhaka, Bangladesh; National Library, Bogotá; Shanghai Museum of Art, Shanghai; and Shanghai Opera House, Shanghai. In 2017, three years after he passed away, the Foundation Chu Teh-Chun was established in Geneva, Switzerland by his wife and their son to promote his work across the globe. In 2020, the Foundation organised the travelling retrospective exhibition The CHU Teh-Chun Odyssey to celebrate the centenary of Chu's birth. Postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, it is scheduled to open at the National Museum of China in 2021.