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4. Blue Seascape

Seong Jae-hyu (b.1915)

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Abstract painting of tall mountains on left side with boats on coast and houses and men at bottom. There is the artist's signature and two seals that read, Pung-gok.

About Seong Jae-hyu (1915-1996):
Born in 1915, modern Korean master Seong Jae-hyu learned traditional brushwork and literati painting from artist So Pyong-o and basic techniques of classic landscape painting and the Southern School from eminent painter/teacher Heo Baek-ryeon [Ui-jae]. By 1937, Seong had mastered the techniques of classical painting, but uninspired by its conventions, consciously sought to define a new, individual style. While his paintings of the early 1940s still explored a naturalistic aesthetic derived from the Chinese literati tradition, his study of Buddhist scriptures and Zen Buddhism at the time of Korea’s liberation in 1945 marked an important turning point in his art. Central Buddhist ideas had a liberating effect on Seong (he often quoted the sayings “there is no gate on a wide road,” and “nothing is good, nothing is bad”), and by 1947, his paintings showed clear signs of the expressive, boldly original style of ink painting for which he is known, with its thickly outlined mountainous landscapes and effortlessly spontaneous details.

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