Chu Teh-Chun (1920-2014) Part II

Inspired by Nicolas de Staël’s abstract landscape paintings, Chu abandoned figurative painting and adopted a unique style using bold strokes of colour which evoked Chinese calligraphy. His new style was immediately successful. In 1964, an exhibition of his works at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh brought him international fame. His paintings are now in the permanent collections of more than 50 museums all over the world. Major exhibitions of his work were held at the Shanghai Art Museum in 2005 and Beijing’s National Art Museum of China in 2010.


In 2003, Chu donated an oil painting to the Shanghai Grand Theatre for its fifth anniversary. The painting now decorates the theatre’s central lobby. At the unveiling ceremony, he called the painting his biggest and best work.

In November 2013, an untitled oil on canvas diptych painted by Chu in 1963 was sold for HKD 70.7 million (around USD 9.1 million) at an auction in Hong Kong, setting his personal record. Chu’s previous record was another diptych entitled “La Foret Blanche II”, which was sold at auction in 2012 for HKD 60 million, or around USD 7.7 million.

According to the Hurun Art List, the total value of Chu’s artworks sold in 2013 at public auction was USD 65 million, ranking third among all living Chinese artists, behind only Zeng Fanzhi and Fan Zeng.

On 26 March 2014, Chu Teh-Chun died in Paris at age 93, closely following the deaths of his friends and fellow modern artists Wu Guanzhong in 2010 and Zao Wou-Ki in 2013.

See the beginning of this article in part I



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