'Donation of the century' art collection unveiled
July 21, 2021 at 10:20
The works are showing at the National Museum of Korea and National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), the recipients of Lee's vast collection.
Items on display include centuries-old antiques and contemporary Korean artworks, while paintings by Western names like Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet are set to be unveiled next year.
"Clearing after Rain on Mount Inwang," created by court painter Jeong Seon in 1751. Credit: Courtesy National Museum of KoreaLee, whose father founded technology conglomerate Samsung in the 1930s, died last October aged 78.
A painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, "La Lecture," was among the items donated by Lee's family to the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA).
Credit: Courtesy National Museum of Modern and Contemporary ArtMMCA received almost 1,500 of the works, in what the museum this week called "the donation of the century."
"We have obtained masterpieces that would have been difficult to purchase with our annual collection budget of 5 billion won ($4.35 million)," she added.
"So we expect this collection will help art tourism as well as help South Korea to become a powerhouse of art culture in the future."
But more than 90% of the pieces are by contemporary Korean artists, including over 100 works by painter Lee Jungseop and almost 70 by celebrated craftsman Yoo Kangyul.
"Women and Jars," by Korean painter Kim Whanki.
At the National Museum of Korea, meanwhile, an exhibition of older artifacts from Lee's collection also opened Wednesday.
A bodhisattva, cast in bronze in the 6th century, was among the items deemed a "National Treasure" by South Korea's government.
Top image: "Bull," (c. 1950s) by Korean painter Lee Jungseop.