A mother and son and two women, all in traditional Korean clothing (hanbok), return home from the market past a line of trees.
Park Sookeun paintings are unique. Modest in scale, somber and roughly textured, they are at first glance unassuming and unpretentious. But it is is these very qualties, combined with the abstract, simplified rendering of his idyllic subject matter--country scenes of everyday life--that give his works their power and poetry.
Sookeun's work was widely appreciated by Americans stationed in Seoul during the 1960s. Now it is prized by Korean collectors and museums as well. The Bando Gallery at the Choson Hotel began exhibiting his paintings in 1965, selling them for a nominal sum to clients who were predominamtly Americans.
Sookeun's body of work is thought to be quite small, perhaps no more than 400 paintings. His career was cut short by his premature death from cirrhosis of the liver at the age of fifty-one in 1965. During the past fifteen years, since Christie's, New York, began selling his work, he has become the most sought-after modern Korean master.
Eighteen paintings by Park Sookeun have been sold at Christie's, New York: Farmers, 27 April, 1993, lot 45; Dancers, 17 November, 1993, lot 121; Woman beneath a tree, 27 April, 1994, lot 101; Country villages, 25 October, 1994, lot 78; Three women and child, 26 April, 1995, lot 77; Farm houses, 26 March, 1996, lot 67; Men smoking, 31 October, 1996, lot 110; Jobless, 23 March, 1999, lot 311 and 18 September, 2001, lot 333; Mother and child, 15 September, 1999, 384; Four women and child, 23 March, 2000, lot 379; Mother and child walking under trees, 19 September, 2000, lot 410; Winter, 22 March, 2002, lot 223; Woman pounding grain, 18 September, 2002, lot 432; Han il (Leisure time), 24 March, 2003, lot 326; Three women seated in the marketplace, 16 September, 2003, lot 430; Seated woman and jar, 23 March, 2004, lot 357; Mother, child and two women; and Coming home from market, 18 March, 2008, lots 468 and 469.