Lee at the solo exhibition held at Galerie Boisserée (Köln), 1959 (1959)Lee Ungno Museum
Lee Ungno moved to France in 1958. At the recommendation of Dr. Hertz, who was the West German ambassador to Korea at the time, Lee headed to Germany only a week after he arrived in Paris. He had a solo exhibition at Galerie Boisserée in Cologne. Many local papers reported his exhibition in the main section as the first Korean modern art exhibition in West Germany.
Galerie Boisserée in Cologne
Club 44, La Chaux-de-Fonds leaflet (1985) by Club 44, La Chaux-de-FondsLee Ungno Museum
He flourished in Switzerland as much as France. Musee des beaux-arts de La Chaux-de-Fonds which hosted exhibitions and had collection policy reflected the international trend of contemporary art at that time was a place where Lee Ungno’s exhibition was held for two times in 1963 and 1978, with a great support of Paul Seylaz who was a critic and museum director.
Musee des beaux-arts de La Chaux-de-Fonds
Lee Ungno (third from right) at Galerie Paul Facchetti, 1962. To Lee’s left is Jacques Lassaigne, a French art historian and criticand the person who invited Lee to Paris. (1962)Lee Ungno Museum
In 1962, he had his first solo exhibition at the Galerie Paul Facchetti, where most of the artists in Paris at that time wanted to be presented, and made an exclusive contract with the Galerie. The Galerie was one of the most significant avant-garde galleries in Paris, which introduced Art Informel and Lyrical Abstract artists and their works. At his first solo exhibition, Lee presented collage works that he had made by hand (instead of with ink and a paintbrush) and gained great attention from the French art community and press.
Académie de Peinture Orientale de Paris by Lee Young-séLee Ungno Museum
In 1964, Lee founded the Académie de Peinture Orientale de Paris at the Musée Cernuschi in Paris, and taught local people traditional Korean painting and calligraphy. As the only institute of East-Asian art in Europe, the Académie was a bridgehead for Korean art into Europe, where there was little understanding of Korean culture.