KIM Whanki
(b. 1913 d. 1974, Korea)
KIM Whanki was a painter known for his softly colored abstract paintings. He established himself as a pioneer of abstract art within Korea, gathering inspiration from his time living in Japan, Paris, New York and Korea.

During his artistic process, Kim combined traditional Korean subject matter with Western painting methodologies inspired by Mark Rothko and Fernand Leger. Many of his works were reflective of Cubism through fragmented and geometric shapes presented in flat planes of color. While living in Paris during the 1950s, Kim’s subject matter shifted to images from his home country, such as iconic mountains, plum blossoms, and Joseon dynasty porcelains. Shortly before his death, Kim produced large-scale, abstract paintings composed predominantly of dots and lines, introducing mystic and temporal ideas into his body of work.

Kim Whanki was born in Korea in 1913, and passed away in 1974. In 1933, he attended a Fine Arts course at the Nihon University School for the Arts in Tokyo, Japan. His work was featured in exhibitions from 1934 around France, Japan, Korea, Brazil, and the USA. In 1992, the Whanki Museum was established in Seoul, South Korea, where most of his work is now held.

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