|Artist Lee Dae-won’s painting “Farm” (1987) sold for 660 million won, the highest price reached in the second round of auctions for former President Chun Doo-hwan’s art collection held in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap News)|
Intensity filled the auction room as bidding for the 1987 “Farm” painting by modern artist Lee Dae-won climbed higher and higher at the second auction for the seized art collection of former President Chun Doo-hwan at Seoul Auction on Wednesday.
In seconds, the bids soared from the 250 million won starting price to 640 million in a heated competition over the flamboyant painting that had hung in Chun’s living room. The bidding soon rose to 660 million won, which was followed by a pause.
“No Regrets?” asked the auctioneer Kim Hyun-hee before she called the bid.
The painting by well-established modern Korean artist Kim Dae-won, who presented it to Chun as a gift, was the highest sale at Wednesday’s auction. Following the success of last week’s auction at K Auction, which sold off the first 80 pieces of the confiscated art collection, another 121 items were auctioned off at Seoul Auction, bringing in 27 billion won in total.
The amount collected from the sales at the auction will be used to pay the fine owed to the government by Chun totaling 262.8 billion won.
“It’s the first time we saw all items sold,” said Lee Hak-joon, CEO of Seoul Auction said afterwards. The auction house set the starting prices lower to attract more bidders to the historic event.
The auction also saw an ink-and-wash landscape painting by the late Joseon-period painter Gyeom Jae Jeong Seon, another highlight of the sale, sold at twice its lowest estimate to a phone bidder. All 16 landscape paintings by nine Joseon master painters exceeded the highest estimates.
An intense portrait of a general “Hermits” by portrait master Chae Yong-shin sold for six times the lowest estimate. A set of rock paintings by Chung Hak-gyo sold for seven times the lowest estimate.
“When buying traditional paintings, proving authenticity is the most important and difficult part. But the fact that the paintings were in the collection of the former president automatically proves authenticity,” said So Jin-su, director of the Art Market Research Institute.
Seoul Auction and K Auction are expected to sell all remaining items in Chun’s art collection by the end of March next year.
By Lee Woo-young (firstname.lastname@example.org