578
578

PROPERTY OF A NEW YORK ESTATE

Kim Whanki
L’ENDROIT OÙ J'HABITAIS - THE PLACE WHERE I LIVED
Estimate
3,000,0005,000,000
LOT SOLD. 6,175,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT
578

PROPERTY OF A NEW YORK ESTATE

Kim Whanki
L’ENDROIT OÙ J'HABITAIS - THE PLACE WHERE I LIVED
Estimate
3,000,0005,000,000
LOT SOLD. 6,175,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art

|
Hong Kong

Kim Whanki
1913 - 1974
L’ENDROIT OÙ J'HABITAIS - THE PLACE WHERE I LIVED
signed in English; titled and dated 1956 on the reverse
oil on canvas
59 by 92 cm; 23 by 36 in.
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Provenance

Galerie Drouant David, Paris
Private Collection, New York
Thence by descent to the present owner

This work is accompanied with an artwork confirmation certificate issued by Whanki Foundation/Whanki Museum

Exhibited

Paris, Galerie M. Benezit, 1957

Catalogue Note

Painted in vibrant colours and with a lively layering of subjects in a complex composition, L’Endroit où j'habitais is an outstanding painting from one of Korea’s most influential artists that combines symbolism from his home country with the aesthetic of international modernism. Influenced by cubism and fauvism, Kim's early works reveal an interest in lyrical compositions through the rhythmic arrangement of abstract forms and bright colors, as clearly exemplified in the present work.

The title of the painting, which translates from French as The Place Where I Lived, gives us an insight into Kim Whanki’s mind during the first year after he had just moved to Paris in 1956. Having been shown in one of his first exhibitions in Paris at Galerie M. Benezit, the present work shows us an artist who still has the familiar motifs from his native Korea on his mind. Stacked in three layers of the blue background, colourful squares, and white lines that hover between abstraction and figuration, the composition might seem abstract at first but in fact hints at many familiar symbols. The mountains, reduced to triangles and domes; the porcelain vase, abstracted into a circle with two squares; the bird with its wings up in the air; a river landscape that has been reduced to a two-colour blue background; and even the colour blue itself, which has a strong presence in Kim’s work during his Paris years and reminded him of the blue seas and skies in Korea. His three years in Paris were an important time in his career, as the artist recalls: “What I felt here is the poetic spirit. Art is supposed to carry poetic songs. A strongly resonating song is always attached to a masterpiece. It seems that I have specifically found what songs I have sung till now in Paris” (Kim Whanki quoted in: Exh. Cat., Daegu, Daegu Art Museum, Kim Whanki, May – August 2018, p. 35).

In this characteristic fusion of Modernist abstraction and personal symbolism, L’Endroit où j'habitais is an iconic early work by Kim Whanki. With its engaging visual language that hovers between abstraction and figuration, and painted in a captivating palette of colours, it perfectly captures an important body of work not just for the artist, but indeed for Korean art-history on which Kim has proven to be a lasting influence.

Contemporary Art

|
Hong Kong