Water Drop Paintings by Kim Tschang-yeul, Yayoi Kusama Pumpkin to Sell at Auction This May

Jonathan Feel
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Works by artist Kim Tschang-yeul, widely known as “the water drop artist,” will be exhibited at several upcoming auctions, including May sales by two major auction houses in Korea. Kim died in January of 2021. His works are appearing one after another at auction houses, including exhibitions, to mark the third anniversary of his death. At a 2022 Christie’s Hong Kong auction, a water drop painting titled CSH 1 was sold for HKD 9.85 million (including purchase fees), setting a new record for the artist. Attention is focused on whether the upcoming sales will set a new record price.

Kim Tschang-yeul’s Waterdrops PA81006 (1980). Image courtesy of K Auction.
Kim Tschang-yeul’s Waterdrops PA81006 (1980). Image courtesy of K Auction.

Two pieces of Kim’s artwork were exhibited by K Auction at its headquarters in Seoul on May 22. They are Waterdrops PA81006, produced in 1980, and Waterdrops SA2001-001, produced in 2001. A total of 72 pieces, about USD 5.43 million, were also exhibited at the K Auction event.

Kim’s Water Drops (1980) will also be exhibited at Seoul Auction’s May sale, held at Gangnam Center on May 28. The estimate ranges from $87,000 to $145,000. Seoul Auction will also unveil a black-and-white Pumpkin (1991) by Yayoi Kusama, one of Korea’s best-selling foreign artists, at an estimated price of $426,000. Unlike other colorful pumpkin paintings, Kusama’s monochrome piece is painted vertically. Compared to other pumpkin paintings since the 2000s, the available work has a tighter dot representation.

Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkin (1991). Image courtesy of Seoul Auction.
Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkin (1991). Image courtesy of Seoul Auction.

Seoul Auction will display a total of 80 artworks, worth about $3.96 million, including these artworks. Lee Ufan’s Untitled (1985), which was painted on a six-page paper measuring more than five meters wide, is also drawing attention, with an estimated price of $254,000 to $436,000. The artwork was exhibited at the artist’s folding screen exhibition in Tokyo in 1986.

In addition, the sale will present Kim Whan-ki’s Bird and Moon (estimated at $254,000 to $400,000), which harmoniously blends a bird, moon, and dots on the canvas, as well as masterpieces by the likes of Ha Chonghyun and Shim Moonseup that have left traces of Korean art history. As for overseas artists, Ayako Rokkaku’s Untitled (2022) will find a new owner. It has been displayed as one of the highlight works in the artist’s first solo exhibition in the UK and has an estimated price of $254,000 to $363,000.

Kim Tschang-yeul’s Water Drops (1975 - 1977). Image courtesy of Christie's.
Kim Tschang-yeul’s Water Drops (1975 – 1977). Image courtesy of Christie’s.

Following this, 17 Korean artworks including Kim Tschang-yeul’s Water Drops (1975 – 1977) will be exhibited at Christie’s Evening/Day Auction to be held at the Hong Kong Convention Center from May 28 to 29. Kim’s artwork will be displayed at the 20th Century Evening Auction on May 28, with an estimated price of HKD 4 million to 6 million. The key point to watch is whether this artwork will break the artist’s auction record from 2022.

On the same day, first-generation Korean abstract artist Rhee Seundja’s Mountain Without Shadows (1962) will also be presented at an estimated price of HKD 4 million to 6 million. Media artist Paik Nam-june’s Root 66 (1993) is estimated at HKD 1.5 million to 2.5 million, and Lee Bae’s Brush 3-88 is offered with an estimate of HKD 300,000 to 500,000 in the 21st Century Evening Auction.

At the Day Auction held on May 29, two works from the 1960s by artist Kim Whan-ki and works by Lee Ufan and Ha Chonghyun will find a new owner.

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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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