To Sangbong was born in Hong-won, Hamgyeong South Province, and graduated from the Tokyo School of Fine Arts in 1927. To is one of the most celebrated modern figurative painters in Korea. He had twenty one-person exhibitions between 1930 and 1975. His paintings were shown regularly in the "National Art Exhibitions" in Seoul from 1949 to 1961. He also participated in the "Korean Modern Art" exhibition at the World House Gallery in New York in 1957. He has received several awards for his work including the Korean Cultural Award and the Mo Ran Jang Award, both in 1970. To painted portraits in his early career, and later focused on still-lifes such as flowers in a classic white porcelain jar from the Joseon dynasty, as here.
Colonel George Nelson Kibler, the former owner of this painting whose name is written on the verso in pencil, was commander of the 45th Engineer Group, Eighth US Army, stationed from October 1953 through March 1955 in Korea. He helped rebuild war-torn Seoul, supplying building materials and constructing many schools, buildings and public facilities. Later he was awarded the Order of Military Merit, "Eul Chi" (serial #921), by President Sung Man Lee.