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Event of the Month

Special Exhibition - Gisan Paintings : Memories of 100 years ago

○ Period: December 1, 2009 ~ January 31, 2010
○ Venue: Busan Modern History Museum
○ For more info.: 051-253-3846

There was a genre painter about 100 years ago, who painted everyday life in Chosun and showed foreigners Chosun's customs and traditions. His name was Jun-Geun Kim, with a pen name of Gisan. Together with Hongdo Kim(Danwon), Yunbok Shin(Hyewon), he is known as one of the most influential genre painters in Chosun.

There are few historical records tell us about him, however. The only thing we can guess is that he was a commoner by birth who worked as a genre painter during the late 19th century in Jemulpo and Wonsan. His name is not found even in 'Geunyeokseohwajing,' the book that lists the names of all the painters in Chosun.

However, one thing clear is that he was an internationally successful artist whose paintings were sold to many foreigners from France, Germany, Russia and the U.S. who came to Chosun. More than 1,000 pieces of his genre paintings that describe life in Chosun are preserved in well-known museums overseas.

Also, Gisan was the first artist from Chosun who had his solo exhibition in Germany. He drew unique illustrations in Chosun's style for 'The Pilgrim's Progress,' the first English-Korean translated book by James S. Gale, the Canadian missionary.

The seals and the local names on his paintings show where he mainly produced his works. During the 19th century, Wonsan port, Jemulpo, and Choryang were the open ports where missionaries, scholars, and diplomats from western countries frequently visited.

At the open ports in China and Japan of that time, their genre paintings called 'Export Paintings' were quite popular with foreign visitors. Like those paintings in China and Japan, Gisan's genre paintings were also massively produced and sold to the foreigners who visited Chosun.

Paintings by Gisan, relatively less known to us, are now displayed at Hengso Museum in Keimyeong University. Hosted by Cheong Gye Cheon Museum and Hengso Museum, <Gisan Paintings: Memories of 100 years ago> will be open until May 6, 2009. <Life in Corea> written by William Richard Carles in late 1800's, <The Pilgrim's Progress> translated into Korean by James S. Gale, and <Gisan's Genre Paintings> are also being displayed. Young people who visit the exhibition are welcome to create a cartoon scene from Gisan's Genre paintings: they can post it on the designated board.

Gisan's works are characterized by detailed description of a character's movement, with non-image background. Exhibition Section I displays a variety of occupations such as farmers, craftsmen, and pot sellers, while Section II shows everyday life, amusements and rituals.

As photography widely began to be used in Chosun at the end of the 19th century, Gisan's paintings eventually lost its popularity and disappeared. However, his paintings could capture something that photographs could not. It was the emotion and feeling of the commoners' life in Chosun.  - WORLDYANNEWS -


Event Period
Shin Okjin Collection Special Sep 5, 2009 - Feb 15, 2010
JUMP: Comic Martial Arts Performance Sep 10, 2009 - Aug 31, 2010
Park Young-sook's Photography Exhibition Nov 7, 2009 - Jan 10, 2010
Special Exhibition - Gisan Paintings : Memories of 100 years ago Dec 1, 2009 - Jan 31, 2010
Busan Christmas Festival Dec 1, 2009 - Jan 3, 2010
Deceased Artists Exhibition: Kim Gyeong, Kim Cheon-ok Dec 5, 2009 - Feb 21, 2010
Video and Pop Art Exhibition Dec 12, 2009 - Jan 21, 2010
Vision & Perspective, 2009 Dec 12, 2009 - Feb 15, 2010
Geometric Dimensions Dec 15, 2009 - Jan 3, 2010
The Ballerina Who Fell in Love With a B-boy Dec 18, 2009 - Sep 30, 2010
Touring Taiwan: Highlights from the Taipei Fine Art Museum Collection Dec 19, 2009 - Jan 31, 2010
Bae Byeong-woo's Photography Exhibition Dec 19, 2009 - Feb 7, 2010
Kids Land 2010 Dec 24, 2009 - Mar 1, 2010
The New Year Festival, Busan Dec 31, 2009 - Jan 1, 2010
Photo Exhibition of Busan's Modern Architecture Jan 2, 2010 - Feb 27, 2010
Exhibition: Couple Jan 5, 2010 - Jan 24, 2010
Art Exhibition : John Baldessari, Susan Derges Jan 8, 2010 - Jan 31, 2010
Busan Philharmonic Orchestra : The 456th Subscription Concert Jan 15, 2010
David Lean Retrospective Jan 15, 2010 - Jan 31, 2010
Noh Sun-tag's Photography Exhibition Jan 16, 2010 - Mar 28, 2010
Saturday Performance of Korean Music & Dance Jan 16, 2010 - Jan 30, 2010
2010 Vienna Boys Choir New Year's Concert Jan 19, 2010
The Year of the Tiger Exhibition Jan 19, 2010 - Mar 7, 2010
New Year's Concert: soprano Shin Young-ok Jan 19, 2010 - Jan 21, 2010
Drawing Exhibition: Floating Petals Jan 26, 2010 - Feb 16, 2010
Photo Exhibition: Jisan-dong Ancient Tombs and Great Gaya Jan 26, 2010 - Mar 21, 2010
I MUSICI Chamber Orchestra Concert Jan 28, 2010
The 23rd Polar Bear Swim Jan 31, 2010

Content Inquiries: An Jiyoung (Evaluation Division 888-1596)