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A Passage through Korean Abstraction

  • Mountain
  • Work 64-513
  • Dancers
  • Untitled 31-III-70 #162
  • Untitled

Mountain Yoo Young-kuk(1916-2002)


Yoo Young-kuk, along with Kim Whanki, laid the foundations for Korean abstraction and left behind a large number of abstract paintings that repeatedly take mountains as their main subject. Much like the majority of modern painters, Yoo studied abroad in Japan. Until the early 1940s, he participated in avant-garde art circles, focusing on geometric abstraction, which was the most avant-garde art form during this time. After his return to Korea, he formed the artist group New Realism with Kim Whanki, Lee Kyu-sang, and Chang Uc-chin among others in pursuit of a new kind of art by applying abstraction to Korean aesthetics. This painting exemplifies Yoo’s early focus on mountains. He used varied fluent lines of blue to convey the ridge of a mountain in its abstract form and employed a limited range of colors, such as green and yellow, all the while depicting the inner depths of the mountain. Without turning to detailed naturalistic representation, Yoo captures the majesty of nature through his masterful command of abstraction.

Oil on canvas
163.2 x 130 cm