Korean War Sketch: Following the Eastern Front

Take a look at the war correspondent records collection by Woo Shin-chul who went to the frontlines holding a brush instead of a gun

Convoy (East Sea) by Woo Shin-chulWar Memorial of Korea

War painter Woo Shin-chu and his works

Dangwang Woo Shin-chul became a war correspondent painter called the Munchon Gugukdae as the Korean War broke out. He was attached to the ROK Third Division and traveled along the combat grounds with the ROK Army for a month. Following the recapture of Seoul, he and the division advanced north to Wonsan. That is where he left behind six journals and 89 drawings.

By Paecheon Stream by Woo Shin-chulWar Memorial of Korea

Woo's works are filled with the breaths and warmth of people, as if to soothe wounds and pains caused by the Korean War. Visitors can take a moment to see Woo's will and courage through his artistic works based on sharp emotions, even amidst painful realities, as he traveled the combat grounds with a pen instead of a gun.

From Donghae to Geumgsangsan Mt., and even Tongcheon

Woo factually painted scenes from the war such as the destroyed cities, activities of the military engineers, and refugees torn by war by traveling northward along the East Coast. His works include beautiful scenery despite the tragedies of war such as the Oegeumgang River and Haegeumgang River.

Welcome (in Yangyang) by Woo Shin-chulWar Memorial of Korea

Welcoming on October 2, 1950 (In Yangyang)

He vividly depicted locals welcoming the truck filled with soldiers that passed Jumunjin and entered the town entrance of Yangyang on October 2 with open arms.

A TI&E Soldier by Woo Shin-chulWar Memorial of Korea

TI&E Personnel on October 3, 1950

In the morning of October 3, the ROK Army advancing north along the Eastern Front entered Sokcho. Here, Woo sketched the TI&E personnel explaining the war situation to the locals who welcomed the ROK Army soldiers. This piece shows the efforts of the TI&E personnel trying to ease the locals' minds.

Infantry at Rest by Woo Shin-chulWar Memorial of Korea

Briefly Resting Infantryman on October 5, 1950

He captured a moment of a tired ROK Army soldier taking a brief rest from the endless march, perfectly depicting the soldier's exhaustion. 

Gazing upon Outer Geumgang I by Woo Shin-chulWar Memorial of Korea

Looking at River Oegeumgang on October 5, 1950 ...

Woo also drew beautiful scenery amidst the horrors of war. The plain sketches emit the beauties of Geumgangsan Mt.

Letter of Encouragement (in Goseong) by Woo Shin-chulWar Memorial of Korea

At Goseong, Gangwon-do on October 6, 1950 (Consolatory Letter)

On the seventh day of traveling north along the Eastern Front, he sketched ROK soldiers reading letters during a brief rest.

Village Belfry in Ruins by Woo Shin-chulWar Memorial of Korea

Destroyed Village on October 8, 1950 (Near Tongcheon)

 This picture realistically depicts a village torn apart by enemy attacks, thus displaying the tragedy of war. 

From Donghae to Geumgsangsan Mt., and even Tongcheon

On October 10, 1950, the South Korean Army prepared its advance into Wonsan, but faced stiff opposition. Woo and the war correspondent painters reluctantly had to retreat.

The 38th Parallel (Inje-Hongcheon Area) by Woo Shin-chulWar Memorial of Korea

At the Border of Inje and Hongcheon on October 11, 1950

The war correspondent painters returned to Seoul via Inje and Hongcheon along Jinburyeong Ridge. Even on his way back, he sketched soldiers and beautiful sceneries.

At Euljiro 2-ga by Woo Shin-chulWar Memorial of Korea

At Eulji-ro 2-ga on October 15, 1950

The war correspondent painters including Woo traveled through Yangpyeong and arrived in Seoul. He realistically depicted the horrors of war based on the theme of cities in ruins such Eulji-ro in destruction with broken electric poles and collapsed buildings.

In 2011, in commemoration of the 100th year since the birth of Woo Shin-chul, his son Woo Sung-ha donated 95 of his father's works including the Korean War Sketch to the War Memorial of Korea. The valuable works of Woo Shin-chul are available for viewing at the Exhibition Hall for Donated Relics (Insert link) on the third floor.

Credits: Story

* Rights to all data used in this story are reserved by the War Memorial of Korea.

Planning/Editing: Park Se-hoon 
Host: Jung Seo-hee

The War Memorial of Korea is a comprehensive museum on war and military history that collects, preserves, manages, and services various materials related to the history of the war in the Korean Peninsula. The War Memorial of Korea's Open Archive is offered to share historical resources with citizens. Check out more archive materials of the War Memorial at the Open Archive.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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