Art Confiscated From Ex-Korean President Raises $2.63M, Repaid to Treasury

By Yunmi Choi, Epoch Times
December 23, 2013 Last Updated: December 28, 2013

In the second of two auctions this month, art confiscated from former South Korean President Chun Doo-Hwan raised 2.77 billion Korean won ($2.63 million), which will be repaid to the national treasury.

Chun was the unelected leader of the nation from 1980 to 1988, during which time he fraudulently obtained hundreds of millions of dollars, now being repaid in part through his art collection.

At the first auction, 80 pieces were sold, and at the second auction, last week, 121 pieces sold. Sales were helped along by the high-profile nature of the auction.

“Farm,” by Korean painter Lee DaiWon (1921–2005) fetched the highest price, 660 million won ($700,000). Its worth had been estimated at 250 million to 400 million won. The painting hung on the wall of the living room at Chun’s home.

Seoul Action CEO Lee Hak-joon said of the painting: “Former President Chun hung the painting at home for a long time. The art piece exactly shows the painter’s characteristic style, depicting landscapes with points and lines.”

“The artist depicted the whole view of farm, ponds, fields, mountains, and trees, with pink sky. Bright colors are well harmonized with the painter’s unique touch. It has both high quality of work and marketability,” added Lee.

Another highlight at the auction was a picture book. It contains 16 by nine Joseon-period (1392–1910) painters. All the 16 paintings sold separately. Among them was an ink and color landscape painting by master painter  Jeong Seon; it sold for 230 million won ($21,7000). That was double its lowest estimate.

Spanish handmade porcelain dolls by LLADRDO also sold above their estimated worth. “Angel of the Mirror” sold to a bidder for 20 million won ($19,000).

All the money went to the national treasury. About 600 artworks were confiscated, and the next auction will be held in March.