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(1913 – 1974), South Korea

Kim Whanki Biography

A prominent figure in the first generation of Korean Abstract artists, Kim Whanki's works combine traditional Korean concepts and ideals with abstraction. Born 1913, in the South Jeolla province of South Korea, Kim Whanki moved to Japan at the age of 19, and enrolled in the Fine Arts programme at Nihon University, Tokyo. During this time, he joined the Avant-garde Institute in Tokyo, where he studied under Tsuguharu Fujita and Seiji Togo. Soon after his first solo exhibition which was held in 1937 at Amagi Gallery, Tokyo, Whanki returned to Korea and founded the Sinsasilpa Group [Neo-Realist movement] with Artist Youngkuk Yoo and Gyusang Lee.

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During the mid 1950s, Whanki based himself in Paris, where he continued to enjoy solo exhibitions at M. Benegite Gallery, and the Institute Gallery among others. In 1963, he represented South Korea in the 7th Sao Paulo Biennale and received the Honorary Award in the category of painting. Throughout his career, Whanki served as professor at the Department of Art, Seoul National University, Seoul and as Dean and professor at Hongik University, Seoul. In 1964, he received a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation in New York, and showed a body of new work at Asia House Gallery. Kim Whanki passed away in 1974 at the age of 61, in New York. Today, Whanki is celebrated internationally as a pioneering figure among Korean Abstract painters, and in 1992, the Whanki Museum was founded in Seoul to commemorate the artist's life and achievements. 

Kim Whanki Recent Exhibitions

Kim Whanki Represented By

Kukje Gallery contemporary art gallery in Seoul, South Korea Kukje Gallery Busan, Seoul

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