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K Auction adds Kim Whanki to its summer sale

July 06,2018
K Auction, a major Korean auction house, said on Thursday it would put up two 15th-century books in hangul, listed by the state as Treasures, as well as some modern paintings by Kim Whanki (1913-1974), the biggest star of the Korean art market in recent years, in its summer sale scheduled for July 18.

Among the books, the 20th Volume of “Wolinseokbo (The Buddha’s Biography and Its Eulogy)” (1459), listed as Treasure No. 745-11, was published by King Sejo and carries writing by the king and his father King Sejong about the life of the Buddha. The book is a kind of annotated translation of Buddhist scriptures into easy Korean using hangul, which King Sejong invented in 1443. The price of the book is estimated to be between 350 million ($313,000) and 700 million won.

The other book, “Mokuja susimgyeol (Secrets on Cultivating the Mind of Mokuja)” (1467), Treasure No. 1848, is a Korean translation of a book by Buddhist master Jinul in the 12th century, using hangul.

The book is estimated to fetch between 250 million and 500 million won.

Among the artworks to be put forth at the July 18 sale at K Auction’s office in southern Seoul, Kim Whanki’s painting “The Bird and the Moon” has the highest price estimates - from 1.5 billion to 2 billion won. The painting was created in 1956 during Kim’s so-called Paris period (1956-59), and it depicts a pink and white bird flying across a blue moon in half-abstract, half-figurative style.

According to data released by the Korea Art Price Appraisal Association, Kim’s artworks have fetched 21.4 billion won in total, the highest sum for a single Korean artist, at nine Korean auction houses’ sales in the first half of the year. Kim represented one fifth of the total 103 billion won in sales by the auction houses.

Seoul Auction recorded the biggest art sales of 61.8 billion won, representing 60 percent of the total. It was followed by K Auction with 35.1 billion won, or 34 percent.

BY MOON SO-YOUNG [symoon@joongang.co.kr]