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Painting album by Joseon master painter to go on block next month

Starting price for Jeong Seon‘s collection of 16 paintings estimated at 5 billion won to 7 billion won

Songyu palhyeondo (eight Confucian scholars of the Song dynasty) by Jeong Seon from the painting album designated as Treasure 1796 (K Auction)
Songyu palhyeondo (eight Confucian scholars of the Song dynasty) by Jeong Seon from the painting album designated as Treasure 1796 (K Auction)

A painting album by Jeong Seon (1676~1759), an artist hailed as the Joseon-period master of landscape paintings, will be put on auction for the first time next month.

Designated as Treasure No. 1796, the painting album of Haeak palgyeong and Songyu palhyeondo comprises 16 paintings by Jeong Seon -- eight scenes of Mt. Kumgang (Haeak palgyeong) located in today‘s North Korea and eight paintings depicting the eight Confucian scholars of China’s Song Dynasty (Songyu palhyeondo).

The painting album by Jeong Seon is presumed to have been produced in the late 1740s, when Jeong Seon was in his 70s and had fully developed his own painting style.

K Auction, one of two major auction firms in Korea, will hold the auction on July 15 at K Auction headquarters in Gangnam-gu, southern Seoul.

The starting price of the state-designated treasure is estimated to be anywhere from 5 billion won ($4.1 million) to 7 billion won. Masterpieces from video artist Paik Nam-june and painter Park Su-geun will also go under the hammer at the same auction, according to K Auction.

The painting album by Jeong Seon is owned by Woohak Cultural Foundation, which was established in 1996 and runs the Yongin University Museum. An official from the cultural foundation declined to give details on its decision to put the treasure up for auction.

K Auction has presented eight state-designated treasures at its auctions over the past 15 years, including two Buddhist statues designated as Treasure No. 284 and Treasure No. 285, which are part of the collection of Kansong Art Museum, Korea’s first private museum facing chronic financial difficulties. The two treasures failed to find new owners at the highly anticipated auction last month.

Art circles in the country are closely watching the K Auction auctions, curious about how state-designated treasures made it to the auction market. An official from K Auction declined to comment on the issue.

In 2012, a compiled manuscript of literary works, designated as Treasure No. 585 in 1975, that included a painting by Jeong Seon fetched 3.4 billion won, according to K Auction.

By Park Yuna (yunapark@heraldcorp.com)
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