Abstract master Kim Whan-ki's painting sells for W8.5b, breaking auction record

By Yonhap
  • Published : May 27, 2018 - 19:08
  • Updated : May 27, 2018 - 21:58

A painting featuring red dots by celebrated South Korean artist Kim Whan-ki sold for 8.5 billion won ($7.87 million) at Seoul Auction's Hong Kong sale on Sunday, shattering the record for any Korean work of art sold at auction and breaking Kim's own auction record, the auction house said.

 "3-II-72 #220" (Seoul Auction)
An unidentified private collector consigned the painting titled "3-II-72 #220," created by the abstract master (1913-1974) in 1972, to the auction house for sale. With a rare and unusual color combination, it had piqued great interest and revved up excitement in the Korean art industry for the possibility of making Korean auction history.

The 202-by-254-centimeter painting is covered mostly with red dots -- an uncommon color for the artist, who is known for his signature blue dots -- except for the top middle part of the canvas, where blue dots form an upside-down triangle.

In April last year, the late artist's "Tranquility 5-Ⅳ-73 #310" featuring blue dots and a white-edged square fetched 6.55 billion won at K Auction, at the time a record-high for a Korean art piece sold at auction.

Kim Whan-ki (Yonhap)
A native of the small fishing town of Shinan in southwestern Korea, Kim was one of the country's pioneers of abstract art. In early 1960, he moved to New York and stayed there until his death in 1974. With this auction result, the country's six most-expensive art pieces all belong to Kim, consolidating his position as the country's highest-grossing artist at auction.

The masterpiece's new owner, who will pay nearly 10 billion won including fees, was not immediately identified. (Yonhap)