Kim Sou was born in Hamheung and studied in the Fine Arts Department of the Tokyo Art School from 1940 to 1944. His paintings were exhibited while he was a student in four "Sun" exhibitions in Seoul from 1936 to 1944. After graduating in 1944 he returned to Hamheung and became an art teacher at the Hamheung Girl's High School. He had his first one-person exhibition at the Tonghwa gallery in the Shinsege Department in Seoul in 1949 and his paintings were included in the first, second, and third "National" exhibitions in Seoul in 1949, 1953, and 1954 respectively.
In 1954 he became an instructor in the Department of Fine Arts at Seoul National University and had a one-person exhibition at the Midopa Gallery in Seoul. In 1955 he went to Paris and studied at Grand Chaumière. His painting "A Companion" was shown at the Exhibition Salon d'Automne. His first one-person exhibition in Paris was at the Lara Vincy Gallery in 1957. One of his graphic works "Pagoda and Face", was shown in Ohio at the International Print Exhibition at the Cincinnati Art Museum in 1957.
In 1958 his painting "Two poses" was exhibited at the Exposition Salon d'Automne in Paris, and in 1959 one of his most famous paintings "Les Coréennes" (a version of which sold in these Rooms, October 26, 1992, lot 69) was shown at the same venue. He had his second solo exhibition in Paris at La Belle Gabrielle Gallery in 1960 and another one-person exhibition at the Sudo Gallery in Seoul in 1961, sponsored by UNESCO. He became a member of the UNESCO Fine Arts Committee in 1961. Kim Sou also opened his own gallery, Fine Arts Research Center in Seoul in 1961. From 1964 to 1965 he taught at the Sudo Women's Educational College in Seoul and in 1965 became an associate professor and chairman of the arts department at the Sung-Shin Women's College in Seoul.
In 1966 Kim Sou had a solo show at the Press Center Art Galley in Seoul, and in 1967 he went to the United States to teach painting and drawing at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia. In 1968 he became an instructor of painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in the same city, and his work was included in the 163rd Annual Exhibition "American paintings and Sculpture" at the Academy in 1968. In 1970 his paintings were exhibited at the Woodmere Gallery in Philadelphia. He won first prize in the Jenkintown Art Festival in 1973. In 1977 his paintings were included in the exhibition "Great Korean Modern Painting" sponsored by the Korean Modern Art Gallery in Seoul, and he had a one-person exhibition at I.M.F. Gallery in Washington, D.C.. His work was shown in the "1950's Korean Modern Fine Art Invitation" exhibition sponsored by Korean Modern Art Gallery in Seoul in 1979.