*《MMCA Lee Kun-hee Collection : Masterpieces of Korea Art》 requires a separate reservation.
Ever since its establishment in 1969, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA) has acquired artwork through purchases and donations as it works to contribute to defining Korean art history. The recent donation of the Lee Kun-hee Collection brings the scale of the museum's collection to over 10,000 works of art. Fifty-five percent of those were acquired through donations, which have helped to enrich the collection while overcoming the constraints of a limited acquisition budget.
In terms of its economic and art history value, the collection donated by the family of the late Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee could well be called the "donation of the century." It is even more significant for the enormous qualitative and quantitative advancements that it brings for the MMCA collection, and for enabling the artwork to be shared with the public. Its 1,488 works of art run the gamut of 20th century Korean art history, including the periods of the Japanese occupation and the Korean War, and will contribute greatly to filling in existing gaps in the MMCA collection. Encompassing everything from rare and important Korean works of the early 20th century to pieces from overseas, the Lee Kun-hee Collection is distinguished by the variety of its eras and genres, which offer some sense of Lee Kun-hee’s affection for art and his sense of purpose as a collector. It also shows how greatly his collecting history contributed to the activities of contemporary artists and the development of art in general.
The Lee Kun-hee Collection comprises 1,369 Korean artworks and 119 overseas artworks. By genre, it includes 412 paintings, 371 prints, 296 works of Hangukhwa (Korean traditional painting), 161 drawings, 136 craft pieces, and 104 sculptures. Over 320 of the works were produced before the 1950s, while around 860, or 58%, were produced by modern artists – defined as those born before 1930. The collection includes works by Kim Whanki, Park Sookeun, Lee Jungseop, Lee Ungno, Yoo Youngkuk, Kwon Jinkyu, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and many more.
For this exhibition, around 50 representative works have been selected, most of them representing the modern and contemporary eras from the early to mid-20th century, which account for the main part of the Lee Kun-hee Collection. The first ones to be exhibited are masterworks created by artists beloved by Koreans, including the early 20th century works Peach Blossom Spring by Lee Sangbeom and Paradise by Baik Namsoon and the mid-20th century works Women and Jars by Kim Whanki, Bull by Lee Jungseop, and Woman Pounding Grain by Park Sookeun Yellow Road by Chun Kyungja and A Thousand Years Old House by Rhee Seundja. MMCA also plans to underscore the significance of this gift from Lee Kun-hee and his family by administering the Lee Kun-hee Collection as future cultural heritage, creating an opportunity for the Korean public to continue appreciating these artworks in the years ahead.
ⓒWhanki Foundation∙Whanki Museum
The copyrights for the images of KIM Whanki’s works belong to the Whanki Foundation.