<modern korean painting> Exhibition Hall : 3. Developments in Modern Art Circles in Asia: The Search for Originality

Ewha Womans University Museum

Ewha Womans University Museum
Seoul, South Korea

Since late 19th century, the most noteworthy aspect of the history of modern fine art at the time is the introduction of new painting styles and cultural assets through those who had studied or traveled abroad. Hwang Cheol and Ji Un-yeong operated their own photography studios, having introduced photography techniques from Shanghai, China and Kobe, Japan, respectively, to produce works as both photographers and practitioners of fine art and calligraphy. Having studied in Tokyo, Japan, Ko Hui-dong had previously been known for his oil paintings, but his transition into oriental paintings saw the amalgamation of Western techniques with the traditional format of classic oriental works.
From the 1920s, the Japanese colonial government began to host the Joseon Art Exhibition as part of its attempt to systematically regulate the artistry of Joseon, which greatly affected the establishment and development of modern art in Korea. The traditional Korean method of colored ink painting was renamed ‘oriental painting’ and reinvented as a creative art form of the colonial exhibition, while other categories consisted of Korean ink landscape paintings, colored portraits, and colored paintings of flowers and birds.While traditional ink landscape paintings were passed down to the first generation of oriental painting artists through the painting styles of Ahn Jung-sik and Jo Seok-jin, which were originally based on traditional forms, the trend in favor of new artistic methods further encouraged changes in the genre. This trend consisted of the deviation from otherworldly and lofty portrayals of landscapes, which were replaced by expressions of everyday and worldly scenes. In particular, gradually painting more seasonal vistas with strong regional flavors allowed Lee Sang-beom to develop a renewed recognition towards distinctively Korean sensibilities.
On the other hand, colored portraits and paintings of flowers and birds, which are generally categorized as Japanese-style paintings, were led by the first generation of oriental painting artists, including Kim Eun-ho, and pursued a new form of artistic style. Kim Eun-ho’s own style of painting emphasized a sense of realism, while his proteges, Kim Gi-chang, Jang U-seong, and Lee Yu-tae created a new style of painting which deviated from the Japanese influence while producing delicate and elegant works.


  • Title: <modern korean painting> Exhibition Hall : 3. Developments in Modern Art Circles in Asia: The Search for Originality

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