Korean art continues to gain international traction as the country’s two leading auction houses concluded their sales calendar last week with $10m in art sold and 80% of the lots on offer finding buyers. The top lot at K Auction seemed to benefit from an arbitrage between New York and Seoul:
K Auction’s highlight piece was the 1940s painting “Island Sketches” by Kim Whanki, which fetched a hammer price of 1.6 billion won [$1.36m]. […] The painting turned out to be consigned by Ahn Byung-kwang, pharmacy business magnate and art collector. The painting was showcased in an exhibition in 2014 at his Seoul Museum, founded in 2012. Ahn purchased the painting at a Christie’s New York auction in September 2013 at approximately $800,000, according to a source.
Park Soo-keun’s 1964 painting “Mother and Son” drew a competitive bidding, sold at 830 million won after 23 bids. The painting was shown to the Korean auction for the first time as it had been owned by an American collector since 1964.
But according to the houses, foreign sales of Korean art now dominate. Seoul Auction did around $85m in sales while K Auction posted $51m in sales up from $23m the year before. Just under half of K Auction’s sales were international:
“Foreign sales accounted for some 60 percent of the total sales in 2015,” said Son Ji-sung, head specialist of marketing team of Seoul Auction. […]
“Korean auction houses have become globalized,” said Seo Jin-su, professor of Kangnam University, who has been studying art market records in Korea and Asia. “The successful sales records are underpinned by strong sales of dansaekhwa globally.”
Korean art auctions lead strong sales this year (KPop Herald)