Les étoiles à l'aube (Stars at Dawn)
RHEE SEUNDJA (KOREAN, 1918-2009)

Les étoiles à l'aube (Stars at Dawn)

Details
RHEE SEUNDJA (KOREAN, 1918-2009)
Les étoiles à l'aube (Stars at Dawn)
signed 'SEUND JA RHEE' (lower right);inscribed '62.30F 211.' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
91 x 73 cm. (35 7/8 x 28 ¾ in.)
Painted in 1962
Provenance
Private Collection, Asia
Literature
Tree of Thoughts Publishing House, Rhee Seundja, Her Art and Life, Seoul, Korea, 2007 (illustrated, p. 182)
Exhibited
Gwacheon, Korea, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, RHEE SEUNDJA, 1-30 April, 1988.

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Lot Essay

Rhee Seundja is a well-known pioneer of Korean modern abstract art.  After arriving in Paris in 1951, Rhee devoted herself to studying the various movements that dominated the art scene in Europe at the time, including peintres non-figuratifs (non-figurative painters), a movement created by the Parisian artists. She soon established her signature style, defined by a certain femininity as well as a remarkable sense of observation; her compositions are poetic yet sensible. 

Untitled (Lot 403) was created in 1958, the year that the Mother and Earth series underwent its initial development. It was around this period that Rhee also made a successful transition from figurative painting to abstract painting. Her primary colours are characterised by Rhee's distinct Korean background; they are also evocative of the vibrant ribbons of Hanbok, the traditional Korean costumes, the designs of which are also heavily influenced by the Five Elements conceptual scheme.

The unique composition in Frémissantes Natures (Nature Trembles) (Lot 402) elevates the visual effects of the painting to a new level. The work features geometric shapes that signify the symbols of the universe, and rigorously applied lines and stripes which continue her exploration of motifs about motherhood and Mother earth. These symbols represent Rhee's unique artistic language that transcends the boundary across time, culture, and nationality.

With a detailed and sophisticated brushwork, Rhee created complex and overlapping patterns of many gradient colours in Les étoiles à l'aube (Stars at Dawn) (Lot 401): the repetitive rectangular, circular, and linear patterns are interweaved in the likeness of tree rings to acknowledge the spirit and energy of the land. The artist conveys her deep affection for her three sons, who were forced to live apart from her. Other than the delicate application of oils, the piece also demonstrates the artist's meticulous exploration of various media.
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