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Former art gallery put up for auction

The former Korean Fine Art Gallery building in Gahoe-dong, central Seoul, has been put up for auction.

Seoul Auction announced on Tuesday that it would mediate the sale of the building designed by architect Kim Jung-up in 1967. The sale will be held through the “Real Estate Private Sale” special section of Seoul Auction’s 120th auction which will be held next week. It is the first time that an art auction house is dealing in a building, not artwork, in South Korea. 
The former Korean Fine Art Gallery building which will be auctioned on June 29. (Seoul Auction)
The former Korean Fine Art Gallery building which will be auctioned on June 29. (Seoul Auction)

Sitting on a 1,233 square-meter lot, the three-storey building is built with ferroconcrete. It was used as a gallery until 1994 and now as a house. The auction house estimated that the value of the house would be around 30 billion won ($28 million).

“Many suggested that I should tear down the house and build a modern building. But I wanted to find a new owner who can preserve the architectural heritage, so I am putting it up for auction,” said Kim Ju-hyun, current owner of the building.

Kim Jung-up was a renowned Korean architect who learned from legendary architect Le Corbusier and adapted Western modernism but also maintained a Korean identity in his works. The Gahoe-dong building is considered one of his best works that well combines bold structures and delicate lines.

“This is the first time in Korean art auction history to assess the artistic value of a building. In other countries, however, there are cases when the public newly recognized the value of buildings by acclaimed architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright after they were auctioned. From now on, not only artworks but also buildings will receive great interest here as well,” said Lee Hak-jun, president of Seoul Auction.

The former Korean Fine Art Gallery building auction will be held on June 29 at Seoul Auction Gangnam branch in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul. In addition to the “Real Estate Private Sale,” the 120th auction will feature 170 artworks by local and international artists including Kim Whan-ki, Lee U-fan, Andy Warhol and Marc Quinn, worth some 7 billion won.

By Park Min-young  (claire@heraldcorp.com)
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