An Introduction to the Korean Art Market

An Introduction to the Korean Art Market

south-korean-flag.jpgI recently wrote a post on the increasing interest in Korean art (see here) which proved to be rather popular due to a lack of information available on Korean art so I thought that I would continue on from that post with an analysis of the Korean art market. Having benefited from the explosion of the Chinese economy as well as growth of their own economy which has been fuelled by Asia and Europe’s appetite for Korean made products, Korea is on track to become one of the wealthiest countries in the world. This means that more and more Korean’s will be looking for different ways to spend their money and methods to diversify their investment portfolios.

Following in the footsteps of their newly wealthy neighbours (India and China), Koreans are beginning to embrace the idea of art as an investment as is evident by the emergence of several Korean art investment funds such as the Seoul Art Fund and the Star Art Fund as well as an increase in the number of commercial galleries. The turnover of Korea’s two largest art auction houses saw an increase of 250% to US$63 million in 2006 compared to 2005 which gives a good indication of the growth that the Korean art market is experiencing.

Further enhancing the attractiveness of art as an investment is the recently implemented new corporation tax law which allows works of art to be regarded as corporate assets for business purposes thus removing the burden of paying taxes on gains from art transactions. All in all the current economic growth and interest in fine art that Korea is experiencing has exposed a whole new market to the art world and has provided a fantastic opportunity for investors to benefit from a market that is still in it’s infancy.

To help you get acquainted with Korean art I have listed ten of the top Korean artists below along with a link to further details:

Lee U-fan

Lee Jae-hyo

Park Sookeun

Kim Tschangyeul

Hong Kyong Tack

Kim Jong-Hak

Kim Dong-Yoo

Choong Sup Lim

David Chung

Do-Ho Suh

Nick**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

9 Responses

  1. Interesting for somebody like me starting to collect my artworks.

    I wish you well. ~ Jeques

  2. Adam,

    I have no idea. Though I am Asian being filipino(from the Philippines), I have limited knowledge of korean/chinese arts. I love the arts though, I am a self-taught painter/artist. You can visit my blog to sample my works.

    I wish you well.

    ~ Jeques

  3. Dear Nicholas,

    I was wondering how you gauge the popularity of the top ten Korean artists. I am doing an in-depth analysis into the Indian and South Korean contemporary art market from 1997-2007. On ArtNet I have good data on some of my contemporary Indian artists, but I do not have much data on most of the artists that you have named above, besides Lee U-fan. I was wondering if there are some other names that you could suggest. I am basically trying to see how sales in the past ten years of contemporary Indian and South Korean artists are behaving. Let me know if you have any thoughts.



  4. Dear Nicholas,

    I am also interested in your sources regarding the Seoul and Star Art Funds. I am not finding much on the internet. Let me know of some good website or journal articles.



  5. Dear Josip,

    Thanks for the questions. There is very little information on the Korean art market and Korean artists so I had to dig deep and consult some Korean sources to get the information that I did. Several Korean galleries have recently opened in New York such as the Arario Gallery, Gana Art Gallery and Tina Kim Fine Art which should be able to point you in the right direction.

    Nicholas Forrest

  6. Nicholas,
    Thanks for the information on Korean art – very interesting. I am trying to find out information on another Korean artist -Kim Jung-wook. Any idea on where I can obtain information or possibly purchase a painting?
    Thanks, John

  7. Hi John,

    The only info I could find on that artists is here:


    Nicholas Forrest

  8. Good day,

    I was interested in contacting a Korean gallery that could be eventually interseted in my art.

    Thank you for you help,


  9. I take the liberty to introduce you to a good graphic artist from Italy Piacenza Bruno missieri.

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