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Beauty under a willow tree
Date: approx. 1920-1930
Object Name: Hanging scroll
Materials: Ink and colors on silk
Dimensions: H. 75 in x W. 21 in, H. 190.5 cm x W. 53.3 cm (overall); H. 42 in x W. 12 3/4 in, H. 1-6.7 cm x W. 32.4 cm (image)
Credit Line: Gift of Song Sung-hee and Lee Moon-ung, Seoul, Korea
Department: Korean Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: 2008.76
On Display: Yes
Location: Gallery 22

Description

Label: Kim Eunho was one of the last court painters of the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). In addition to portraits of royalty, including two paintings of King Sunjong (1874–1926), Kim depicted contemporary celebrities, historical figures, and Korean beauties, as in this painting. Kim attempted to modernize the traditional style of Korean painting by applying Western perspective and using shading and modelling. He studied painting in Japan, and some of his paintings include new techniques and brushstrokes that were popular in Japanese works of the time.

More Information

Signature/Seal: Signed "I-dang"; 2 square seals below signature: 1. I-dang (in relief seal) 2. Kim Un-ho (in Intaglia seal)
Exhibition History: "Gorgeous", Asian Art Museum, 6/20/2014 - 9/14/2014
Additional Label:

As common as it is for a woman to be shown barebreasted in the arts of India, Southeast Asia, and Europe, it's rare in the arts of Korea, China, and Japan. What's going on here? Is this a courtesan or a young country woman who has unself-consciously exposed her breasts as she goes about her everyday activities? Would the artist and patron have thought of this work as a record of daily life, or as calculated titillation? Something risqué or erotic seems intended, because the woman is looking toward the lower corner where
pigeons mate.

Maybe there's another factor. By the time this painting was made, illustrations of artworks from around the world would have been easily available in books and magazines. Might this artist have been familiar with depictions of similarly posed female fertility figures on ancient Buddhist monuments in India? We are faced with questions about what we suppose the artist's intent to have been, what the open or veiled erotic charges are, and what other artworks an artist may be referencing, and expecting us to notice.

- FMcG ("Gorgeous" exhibition)


Label: Kim Eunho was one of the last court painters of the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). In addition to portraits of royalty, including two paintings of King Sunjong (1874–1926), Kim depicted contemporary celebrities, historical figures, and Korean beauties, as in this painting. Kim attempted to modernize the traditional style of Korean painting by applying Western perspective and using shading and modelling. He studied painting in Japan, and some of his paintings include new techniques and brushstrokes that were popular in Japanese works of the time.
Signature/Seal: Signed "I-dang"; 2 square seals below signature: 1. I-dang (in relief seal) 2. Kim Un-ho (in Intaglia seal)
Exhibition History: "Gorgeous", Asian Art Museum, 6/20/2014 - 9/14/2014
Expanded Label:

As common as it is for a woman to be shown barebreasted in the arts of India, Southeast Asia, and Europe, it's rare in the arts of Korea, China, and Japan. What's going on here? Is this a courtesan or a young country woman who has unself-consciously exposed her breasts as she goes about her everyday activities? Would the artist and patron have thought of this work as a record of daily life, or as calculated titillation? Something risqué or erotic seems intended, because the woman is looking toward the lower corner where
pigeons mate.

Maybe there's another factor. By the time this painting was made, illustrations of artworks from around the world would have been easily available in books and magazines. Might this artist have been familiar with depictions of similarly posed female fertility figures on ancient Buddhist monuments in India? We are faced with questions about what we suppose the artist's intent to have been, what the open or veiled erotic charges are, and what other artworks an artist may be referencing, and expecting us to notice.

- FMcG ("Gorgeous" exhibition)