New record price for Korean painting

Every few months there’s another news item in the Korean press about a new domestic record price paid at auction for a Korean painting. And each time, the artist is Park Soo-keun (Bak Su-geun, 박수근) (1914-1965).

The most recent record was set this month (22 May), at W4.52bn:

A Wash Place. Park Soo-keun. 37 x 72 cm, oil on canvas.

Park Soo-keun: A Wash Place (Oil on canvas, 37 x 72 cm)

The previous record was for Park Soo-keun’s “Woman at a Marketplace” (24.9 x 62.4 cm) which sold for W2.5 billion at K Auction in March:

Ladies in the market - Park Soo-keun

Park’s paintings are also in demand internationally. His “Leisure Time” fetched $1.128 million at Christie’s in New York on 24 March 2003, according to the International Herald Tribune, just exceeded a year later by his “Seated Woman and Jar” which fetched $1,239,500.

With prices rising, it’s natural that the unscrupulous try to make a quick buck. Park Soo-keun was one of the artists whose work was forged by a multi-million forgery ring busted earlier this year.

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