In 1935 Chu Teh-Chun entered the National School of Fine Arts (now China Academy of Art) in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, graduating in 1941. At the school he studied Chinese painting under Pan Tianshou and Western art under Fang Ganmin and Wu Dayu.
In 1945 Chu Teh-Chun became a faculty member of the architecture department of the National Central University in Nanjing. With the communist victory in mainland China, he moved to Taiwan in 1949, joining the National Taiwan Normal University where he taught Western-style painting. Chu Teh-Chun moved to Paris in 1955, where he lived for the rest of his life.
In April 1956, Chu Teh-Chun painted an oil on canvas portrait of his wife Tung Ching-Chao (董景昭), which won the silver medal at the Paris Salon. He called the painting his "lucky star", after which his career became increasingly successful.
Inspired by Nicolas de Staël's abstract landscape paintings, Chu Teh-Chun 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 Teh-Chun donated an oil painting to the Shanghai Grand Theatre for its fifth anniversary. The painting now decorates the theatre's central lobby.
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.