Too Many Na Hye Seok Fakes
Too Many Na Hye Seok Fakes
  • Reported by Kim Ji-eun
  • 승인 2002.05.07 00:00
  • 수정 2013-07-12 16:27
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Professor Yoon claims at symposium, More than half the 40-odd paintings on exhibition today suspected as fakes.

 As Korean artist Na Hye Seoks works began to receive more critical acclaim in recent years, not a few fakes have appeared on the artistic scene, giving rise to an intensifying genuine or fake debate.

The debate was launched in earnest by Kyungwon University professor Yoon Bum Mo at the 5th Symposium on Discovering the Truth about Na Hye Seok. At the Symposium, organized by the Na Hye Seok Commemoration Committee (president Yoo Dong Jun) and held on April 27 (the eve of Na Hey Seoks 106th birthday) in the Gyeonggi-do Culture and Arts Center international conference hall, professor Yoon said, Out of the 40-odd paintings claimed to be the works of Na Hye Seok, more than half are suspected as fakes. The professor, who is also president of the Association of Korean Arts Connoisseurs, went on to add, Before we discuss the value of her paintings, we need to first verify that they are genuine. The paintings of Na Hye Seok, whose remarkable penmanship and artistic style was unparalleled by her male contemporaries, have not received due acclaim because of the fakes circulating among them. Yoon also revealed that he was involved in the project of weeding out the fakes based on Nas standard model (genuine 



, believed to be a genuine work by Na Hye Seok (currently owned by an individual collector).
, believed to be a genuine work by Na Hye Seok (currently owned by an individual collector).
Professor Yoon claims that most of the Na Hye Seok paintings currently on the market should be suspected as fakes. Yoon is currently carrying out a professional appraisal project based on sample extractions and analysis of penmanship and pictorial style.

Besides the presentation by Professor Yoon, other presentations at the Symposium reflecting the artistic and literary works, life and values of Na Hye Seok included The line of flow in Na Hye Seoks art (Prof. Kim Jeong Dong, Architecture, Mokwon Univ.) A study of Na Hye Seok as a character (Prof. So Hyun Sook, History, Sangmyung Univ.) The Imagery of light and water in Nas oems (Prof. Gu Myeong Sook, Humanities, Sookmyung Womens Univ.) Nas nationalism and nationalist movement (Prof. Hwang Min Ho, History, Soongsil Univ.) The political science of self-confession A re-examination of Nas divorce (Prof. So Hyun Sook, History, Sangmyung Univ.).

At 3 p.m. on the same day, a culture festival celebrating the 106th anniversary of the artists birth lined Na Hye Seok Street in Suwon city, with performing arts, Korean traditional marching band, Korean traditional requiem, demonstrations of totem pole carving, clay doll making, and more. The Suwon Art Museum will be holding an exhibition until May 9, entitled

Who is Na Hye Seok?

- An eternal spark of feminism

 Chastity is neither a moral value nor the law; it is nothing but a hobby. Just as playing with dolls brought me joy, I am a comforter that brings joy to my father as a daughter doll and to my husband as a wife doll. Dont blame me, daughter. Blame instead the social system and morality and laws and custom. Your mother is just another individual going through this period of transition, a sacrifice to fate. 

These are not the words of a feminist in the 21st century. They are the words of Na Hye Seok, who lived from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, a period when the patriarchal system placed women at the lowest rungs of the social strata.

As a woman who was forever on the lips of lesser bigots for being far too ahead of her times, Na Hye Seoks outstanding talent as a literary and painter was never given the critical acclaim her due, and thus her life was burdened by an unhappy fate both as an artist and a woman. Her autobiographic novel published in 1918, is considered the first feminist novel in Korea. At her debut exhibition in 1921, her paintings were sold out at very high prices. Possessed of remarkable talent both as a writer and an artist, Na was a truly influential figure in the cultural circle of her times. Her paintings were entered and awarded at the Chosun Arts Exhibition 11 times, and her numerous essays, novels and poems were published in various newspapers and magazines such as Maeil Shinbo, Donga Ilbo, Gaebyeok, Journal Mania, New Donga, Joongang, and so on.

Born in Suwon in 1896, Na was admitted to the Private Womens Academy of Fine Arts in Tokyo in 1915. She was active in the independence movement, getting imprisoned for joining the March First Uprising against Japanese colonial rule and being involved in the independence activist group Uiyeoldan. In 1920, at the age of 24, she married a widower named Kim Woo Young, but was sued and divorced by him in 1931 for falling in love with Choi Rin, a Catholic Duo sunt whom she had met while traveling in Europe with her husband. Then in 1934, she once again shocked the world with her essay Divorce Confession published in the magazine Samcholli. After her divorce, Na became more and more estranged from the secular world. 

But she always carried 10 canvas sheets wherever she went, and survived on her writings. Nas stormy life finally came to an end on December 10, 1948. A wanderer without a place she could call home, she met her demise on the streets.

In 1995, people longing for a revival of the talent and spirit of Na Hye Seok, led by president Yoo Dong Jun, gathered to found the Na Hye Seok Commemoration Committee. Every year, the Committee holds the Symposium on Discovering the Truth about Na Hye Seok and the Na Hye Seok Women Artists Exhibition.

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