From national treasures to modern master pieces, Lee Kun-Hee Collection to be unveiled

연합뉴스 / 2021-07-20 12:58:10
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▲ This photo, provided by the National Museum of Korea, shows 'Inwangjesaekdo' by Jeong Seon. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)




▲ This photo, provided by the National Museum of Korea, is the Gilt-bronze Standing Bodhisattva Triad. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)



▲ This photo, provided by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art(MMCA), is 'White Cow' by Lee Joong-seop.



SEOUL, July 20 (Yonhap) -- An exhibition featuring the major pieces of 'Lee Kun-hee Collection', which became a hot topic being called 'the donation of the century', will open on the 21st at the National Museum of Korea and at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA).


Though some of the donated works have been revealed to the public, there has never been a large-scale exhibition composed only of the representative ones of the collection until now. A total of 135 pieces, including cultural assets and art works are to be set up for exhibition. 



◇ 77 pieces of cultural heritage best representing each era including Inwangjesaekdo·Goryeo Buddhist paintings


The National Museum of Korea is presenting 'A Great Cultural Legacy: Masterpieces from the Bequest of the Late Samsung Chairman LEE, KUN-HEE' in the calligraphy and painting room on the 2nd floor of their permanent exhibition hall, with carefully selected 45 cultural assets that best represent their eras out of 9797 items and 21,693 paintings donated. These chosen pieces include 12 national treasures and 16 treasures.


The exhibition focused on introducing the character and true face of the 'Lee Kun-hee Collection' which puts all chapters of our history in every branches together. 


Its various art works range from the national treasure 'Bronze Bells' told to have been excavated from Yesan-gun, Chungcheongnam-do to potteries, bookshelves and folk paintings known to have been produced in the late Joseon Dynasty. 


An artifact of particular interest is 'Inwangjesaekdo' which was painted with strong and confident strokes by Jeong Seon in his late ages. 

Visitors can also meet other Joseon paintings such as 'Chuseong Budo' by Kim Hong-do, and 'Gyesan Heo-jeong', 'Gyesan Giryeo-do' by Gang Se-hwang.

Among Goryeo era's Buddhist paintings, a rather rare kind of cultural assets for only 20 of these are known to exist in the country, 'Cheonsu Gwaneum Bosal-do' and 'Suwol Gwaneum-do' were brought out on display. 

X-ray photos to aid examinations on Buddhist paintings that are difficult to see with the naked eye are available through the touch screen. Watchers can see the shape of the Bodhisattva's hands, the eyes on the palm and the halo, the objects in the his hands and various coloring methods of 'Cheonsu Gwaneum-do'.


Also the exhibition includes 'Gilt-bronze Standing Bodhisattva Triad', the national treasure during the era of Three Kingdoms in Korea, and 'Seokbosangjeol 11', 'Wolinseokbo Vol.11·12', 'Wolinseokbo Vol.17·18', books showing the fruitful results the creation of Hangul had brouhgt to the early Joseon Dynasty. 

Moreover, visitors can see the Three Kingdom Era potteries, Goryeo metal crafts, copies of scriptures from Goryeo to early Joseon, Goryeo porcelains and Joseon white porcelains, too.

The exhibition runs until September 26. In accordance with the new coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantine guidelines, only for those who made reservation in advance are allowed entry for 30 minutes and 20 people at a time. 



◇ 58 artworks by leading Korean artists including Kim Whan-ki and Lee Joong-seop

The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) is holding 'Lee Kun-hee Collection Masterpieces of Korean Art' in Seoul Gallery 1. The museum is unveiling 58 works by 34 Korean artists out of a total of 1,488 pieces. These works include 1,369 pieces by 238 Korean modern and contemporary artists donated by the family of the late Chairman Lee Kun-hee and 119 works by 8 foreign contemporary artists.

The museum collected works of Korean Art produced in the early and mid 20th century (from the 1920s to the 1970s) by the leading artists such as Kim Whan-ki, Park Soo-keun, Lee Joong-seop, Lee Ung-no, Yoo Young-kuk, Kwon Chin-gyu, Chun Kyung-ja. A number of rare masterpieces that have been an issue since the announcement of the donation are largely included. 


In 'Women and the Jar' by Kim Whan-ki, a 568cm with masterpiece made in the 1959s, appear the artist's favorite subjects such as white porcelains, cranes, deer and cages along with trees and half-naked women with pots on their heads on a pastel-toned background. The artist's full scale dot painting in 1973, Sanullim 19-II-73#307' is also added to the exhibition. 


Visitors can also meet Lee Joong-seop's major works. 'Bull', a painting of bull's wrinkled head in an intensive red background and 'White Cow' picturing the whole body of a white cow making heavy steps with its head bowed are to be on display. 

Only four copies of 'Bull' is said to exist. Also 'White Cow' is also known to have only 5 copies.

Before the donation from 'Lee Kun-hee Collection' was made, MMCA did not have Kim Whan-ki and Lee Joong-seop's representative works, the full-scale dot painting and the 'Bull' in its hands. The 'White Cow' now added to the collection is the one that had appeared in a solo exhibition in 1972 and in a publication in 1975 but had been seen since then.

Apart from the works mentioned above, people can also enjoy 'Paradise' by Baik Nam-soon, 'Peach Blosso Spring' by Lee Sang-beom, Park Soo-keun's 'Woman Pounding Grain', Rhee Seundja's 'A Thousand Years Old House' and 'Korean Women' by Kim Heung-sou.  

The exhibition is until March 13, next year, under the 4th stage of social distancing, 30 people are permitted entrance for 1 hour at a time.





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