Park Sookeun's paintings are unique. Small, somber, and roughly textured, they are at first glance unassuming and unpretentious. But it is these very qualities, combined with the abstract, simplified rendering of his idyllic subject matter--traditional country scenes and people--that give his works their power and poetry. Here, two men are idle. The figure above, wearing white jacket and trousers, lies on his back, perhaps asleep. The seated man in the foreground wears a Western hat and grey jacket. The subject appears in several of the artist's drawings.
Park Sookeun was born in Yanggu in Kwangwon Province. He painted all his life. Although influenced by French Impressionists, especially Pointilists, he expresses the spirit of post-war Korea--an anxiety about the future combined with undaunted determination and courage. The singular mosaic-like surface of his painting is created by mixing dry oil with a dry material like rice chaff and applying them to fiber board with brush and spatula. His palette is principally black and white accented by pink and yellow.
Park Sookeun graduated from high school in 1932 and that year he exhibited in the Chosun Art Exhibition. He participated in the "Sun" exhibitions in Seoul until 1944. From 1953 to 1964 his work was shown in the National Exhibitions in Seoul and in Manila. His work was shown in many exhibitions of modern art in Tokyo, San Francisco and New York.
Seven paintings by Park Sookeun have been sold in these Rooms: Farmers, April 27, 1993, lot 45; Dancers, November 17, 1993, lot 121; Women beneath a tree, April 27, 1994, lot 101; Country village, October 25, 1994, lot 78; Three women and child, April 26, 1995, lot 77; Farmhouses, March 26, 1996, lot 67; Men smoking, October 31, 1996, lot 110.