Contemporary Masterpieces at Auction in Korea This March

Jonathan Feel
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Works by domestic and foreign artists representing contemporary art will be auctioned in March at K Auction and Seoul Auction, the two largest auction houses in Korea.

French abstract painter Bernard Frize's Gawk. Image courtesy of K Auction.
French abstract painter Bernard Frize’s Gawk. Image courtesy of K Auction.

K Auction will present 98 pieces, worth about $5.7 million, at its headquarters in Gangnam-gu, Seoul, on March 20. The most notable lot is French abstract painter Bernard Frize’s Gawk (estimated USD 150,000 – $230,000). His work, which is rarely seen at domestic auctions, stands out with a restrained grid pattern and a feast of colors stacked in layers.

Ugo Rondinone’s Einundzwanzigsterdezemberzweitausendeinundzwanzig (estimate: $140,000 – $190,000) beautifully captures the changes of colors and lights over time. Bidders can also consider Damien Hirst’s Psalm 115: Non Novis, Domine (estimate: $190,000 – $300,000).

As for Korean artists, contemporary masterpieces by monochromatic masters such as Kim Whan-ki, Kim Tschang-yeul, and Lee Ufan are looking for a new owner. Two works that Kim Whan-ki painted in oil on newspapers during his New York era will be auctioned. These works are meaningful in that they can infer the process until dot painting was completed; they served as the foundation for the birth of dot painting.

Six works by Water Drops artist Kim Tschang-yeul will be exhibited, including Waterdrops SA0001 (estimate: $140,000 – $230,000). There will be a total of five works by Lee Ufan, including Correspondence (estimate: $260,000 – $410,000), With Winds (estimate: $83,000 – $170,000), and Dialogue (estimate: $68,000 – $150,000).

In addition, Nucleus 87-09 (estimate: $160,000 – $340,000) by Lee Seung-jio, a leading Korean abstract artist, and Scape (estimate: $64,000 – $110,000) by Choi Wook-kyung, a pioneer of Abstract Expressionism, will be exhibited. Two works by Lee Kangso, a master of experimental art, will also be auctioned off: From an Island-07240 (estimate: $60,000 – $190,000) and Emptiness-15016 (estimate: $49,000 – $90,000).

Kim Whan-ki's 3-V-71 #203. Image courtesy of Seoul Auction.
Kim Whan-ki’s 3-V-71 #203. Image courtesy of Seoul Auction.

Following this, on March 29, Seoul Auction will offer a total of 85 works, together worth about $13,534,000, at the Gangnam Center. Just like K Auction, there are works by Kim Whan-ki and Kim Tschang-yeul. Kim Whan-ki’s 3-V-71 #203 (estimate: $3,750,000 – $9,000,000) is a masterpiece with four colors drawn in the form of bands, which is highly rare because each band uses a different point-taking technique. His other available works, including Birds and Moon (estimate: $450,000 – $751,000), are harmonized with bird, moon, and dot. A total of four Water Drops by Kim Tschang-yeul, including two works from the 1970s, will be auctioned.

Artists who have recently attracted attention in the Korean art world, such as Kang Suki Seokyeong, Chun Kwang-young, Joung Young-ju, and Kim Sun-woo, are also represented in the upcoming sale. In addition, Youth is Flower by world-renowned K-Pop singer G-Dragon (also known as Kwon Ji-yong) will be exhibited. G-Dragon, known as a major figure in the Korean art world, was also listed in the “50 Remarkable Collectors” by ARTnews, the American art magazine, in 2019. It is the first time that his work, which is not from his collection, has been auctioned off.

In the overseas art sector, Pop Art master Andy Warhol’s rare 10-piece set Campbell’s Soup II (Set of 10), Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkin with yellow pumpkins symbolizing the artist, Fernando Botero’s Men Drinking, and Brian Calvin’s Almost Gone are looking for new owners.

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Jonathan Feel
Jonathan Feel

Jonathan Feel is a reporter and editor for Auction Daily in Korea. He has been active in various fields such as the media, social economy, village community, and fair trade coffee industry and is writing. It is recognized that art is not far from society and the times, and that art can be a tool for the sustainability of the Earth and mankind. He hopes that good works and artists in Korea will meet with readers.

김이준수는 한국 주재 옥션데일리 필진이자 편집자이다. 언론, 사회적경제, 마을공동체, 공정무역 커피업계 등 다양한 분야에서 활동했고 글을 쓰고 있다. 예술이 사회·시대와 동떨어져 있지 않으며, 예술이 지구와 인류의 지속가능성을 위한 도구가 될 수 있음을 인식하고 있다. 한국의 좋은 작품과 아티스트를 많이 소개하고 싶다.

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