Rhee Seundja is one of the Korean modern masters who merged Western abstraction with Eastern philosophies. She began her study of painting in the early 1950s in France at the Acad?mie de la Grande Chaumi?re, where Chinese masters of abstract painting Zao Wou-ki and Chu The-Chun studied. Her training in Europe enabled her to absorb western aesthetics and techniques of painting. Exploring Art Informel which was underway in the 1950s in Paris, Rhee turned towards abstraction in 1956. This transition can be shown in Graines d'Echos (Lot 441) and Maîtrise et Spontanéit? (Lot 442). Both paintings exemplify Rhee's early mature style of combining narrative content, form and colour, conveying the characteristics of a still life, yet highly abstract in nature.
Rhee's paintings in the early 1960s present a stylistic change, which saw Rhee employ and reinterpret the diverse motifs of traditional Korean pattern. Une autre terre (Lot 443) and Une Nuit Animée (Lot 443) are both filled with a myriad of lines and points produced by repetitive brushstrokes. For Rhee, each brushstroke represented the act of tending to the land so that the seeds can grow well, which in turn signifies nurturing children, whom she had not seen since her separation with them in 1951.
Mon Aubèrge de Mars No. 4 (Lot 445) is from Rhee's Cosmos Series (1995-2002), the last series of her artistic career over six decades. Rhee's reunion with her beloved children in 1965 freed her from the earth. Since then she began to explore the Earth and universe. The series reflects a shift in her perspective toward probing universal truths which transcend emotions of physical existence. The painting embodies her consistent conception of yin and yang. Rhee's signature ideograms and colours presented in the painting are aesthetic manifestations and invented codes which express the harmony of yin and yang.
The five paintings offered in this sale fully encapsulate the scope of Rhee's creative output, fusing an Eastern mind-set with Western materials, developing her own unique colour palette and artistic language.