Quiet listening (Lot 413) was painted by leading Korean artist Kim Ki-Chang in 1934, which belongs to his oeuvre of the Unbo period. To an aurally-disabled painter, 'Listening to music with family' is not merely a yearning desire but also a tribute to his bosom family life. Kim became deaf at the age of seven due to typhoid, yet his mother observed his utmost concentration and talent in painting and led him to the renowned modern Korean master Kim Eun-Ho (Yidang). Since then he became the apprentice of Yidang and the second generation of the oriental painters group and devoted his life in art.
Kim Ki-Chang projected the image of maternal love to Quiet listening. Though without a single word, the mother and daughter in the artwork interact dearly, infusing in the artwork a tranquil and warm aura. The antique phonograph, wicker chair instead of tatami, the mix-matching of Korean dress with Western leather shoes have documented facets of the Korean families under colonial governance in the 1930s. The lace of the table cloth, the twist ing rat tan, the mind-blowing complex patterns on the seating mat and Korean dress, as well as the wooden rings on the tiles all explicitly showcase the artist's meticulous style and solid foundation of Northern School gongbi portraiture (Fig. 1). In face of the deeply-rooted Korean ink art genre and cultural shock in the colonial period, Kim adopted a rich and vibrant colouring style similar to Japanese ink paintings. The sharp and clear outlining, together with a warm-toned rendering seemingly surrounded by silver-lining, have well proven his supreme techniques and artist value in gongbi portraiture.