The Korea Herald


W200b of confiscated artwork to be auctioned off

By Korea Herald

Published : Jan. 8, 2012 - 15:54

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A piece from Zhang Xiaogang’s “Bloodline Series” A piece from Zhang Xiaogang’s “Bloodline Series”
Korea Deposit Insurance Corporation will sell artwork confiscated from the suspended savings banks in South Korea this year at foreign auctions.

The state-run insurer said Thursday that it had started the search for a lead manager to take charge of the sales. The aim is to raise funds for the depositors of the banks that were ordered to shut down last year by the Financial Services Commission.

Items to be auctioned include a total of 91 artworks seized from Samhwa Mutual Savings Bank and Domin Mutual Savings & Finance. Produced by established local and international artists, the pieces are estimated to be worth around 200 billion won ($172 million).

The works were collected by the ousted owners of the banks as security for bad loans or for their private collections. Although the they may fetch higher sums after a few more years, KDIC decided to sell them now to raise immediate cash for the depositors.

“As we have been supplying the deposits to customers in place of the suspended savings banks, we have met financial difficulties. So we plan to auction the artwork to minimize the loss,” said a KDIC official.

KDIC is supposed to cover up to 50 million won per deposit of failed financial institutions, according to the depositor protection act.

To receive the highest-possible bids, KDIC is looking to contact foreign auction houses such as those in Hong Kong. Officials expect the artworks will raise about 200 billion won, as 15 of the works are by Chinese artists and prices for art by these artist have been soaring lately.
Park Soo-keun’s “Children Jumping Rope” Park Soo-keun’s “Children Jumping Rope”

“The collection holds many masterpieces, enough to establish an art museum,” said an art industry insider.

The list of the Chinese artists include Chen Lianqing whose work insiders say is beyond pricing these days; Zhang Xiaogang, a representative avant-garde artist known for the “Bloodline Series”; Feng Zhengjie, a second-generation contemporary artist and Yin Zhaoyang, a veteran contemporary artist. 

Five works by U.S. artist Julian Schnabel such as “Mother” are also included in the list along with Park Soo-keun’s painting “Children Jumping Rope.”

By Park Min-young (