Who was the Chinese artist Chu Teh-Chun?

Chu Teh-Chun was a Chinese-French painter who, together with Zao Wou-Ki and Wu Guanzhong, formed the artist trio dubbed the “Three Musketeers” of modern Chinese art. These painters combined traditional Asian painting techniques with Western Lyrical Abstraction painting styles.

In Paris, the Chinese painter Chu Teh-Chun frequented the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, where he practised life drawing from nude models. It was there that Chu was reunited with his friend Zao Wou-Ki and met other Chinese artists based in Paris, such as the painter Sanyu, among others. In 1956, Chu Teh-Chun was struck by the work of the painter Nicolas de Staël, whose works he discovered during a retrospective of the artist’s work at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris. It was an aesthetic revelation for Chu, who was inspired to embrace abstraction in his art. In 1958, Chu signed a contract with the Galerie Legendre in Paris, which allowed him to focus essentially on his pictorial work. It was thanks to this art gallery that exhibitions of Chu’s work were organised in France and abroad—in Pittsburgh at the Carnegie Art Museum in 1964, in Athens and Jerusalem. The painter’s work was also exhibited in 1969 at the 10th São Paolo Biennale. In 1971, Chu Teh-Chun returned to practising calligraphy. The Chinese painter then began to produce very large-format works which were presented at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Liege in 1988. In 1985, Chu Teh-Chun painted his famous Snow series of landscapes, inspired by a snowstorm he had witnessed in Switzerland. In 1997, Chu was elected as a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris—he had obtained French nationality in 1981—making him the first painter of Chinese origin to enter such an institution.

If you would like to find out more about the artist Chu Teh-Chun and his works, please visit the Chinese painter’s dedicated page.

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