The Most Expensive Piece of Korean Art by Whanki Kim

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In the Autumn 2019 auction season at Christie’s in Hong Kong, “Universe” by Whanki Kim was sold at HKD 102 million (USD 13.03 million; KRW 13.2 billion). It was a record price for Korean art auctions.

Experts at first speculated that the bid winner was a foreign businessman, but it was confirmed in 2022, after three years, that Woong-ki Kim, the chairman of apparel exporter Global Sae-A Group, owned the piece.

Whanki Kim (1913 ~ 1974) is a pioneer of abstract painting in Korea, a crucial figure leading Korean modernism.

According to Gallery Hyundai, his earlier works portrayed Korean cultural symbols, such as mountains, ceramics, and more, with simplified form and color. As he settled down to New York, his works possess more basic geometric elements, such as dots and lines, deepening introspective sentiments (reference).

Click here to know more about his works.

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