Their History, Present Situation and Vision:
the case of the Republic of Korea : through historical survey, the case studies of private art museums and the "Mo-am Collection"
3. The Lee Royal Family Art Museum
After the former King Kojong’s death (1919), the Deoksu Palace, Kojong’s palace, was very damaged by Japan. Japan destroyed most part of the Deoksu Palace３６. After refurbishing and modifying the palace, the Deoksu Palace was finally opened as a public park to the general public in 1933. In this process, Japanese contemporary art works were displayed at the Sok-jo jeon (the Hall of Stone) in the Duk-Su Palace. However, many people desired classical Korean art works to be displayed at the Sok-jo jeon (the Hall of Stone) at this time. So, the construction of a new art museum begun in 1936 and was completed in 1938. This new art museum building was located on the west side of the Sok-jo jeon and was designed by the Japanese architect Nakamura Yoshiai. As the new museum building was being built, the Lee Royal Family Museum moved its location from the Changduk Palace to the Deoksu Palace in 1938, and was renamed “The Lee Royal Family Art Museum”３７. Eventually, however, The Lee Royal Family Art
Museum was merged with the Deoksu Palace Art Museum, even though the building was independent. There was the Deoksu Palace Art Museum, an old building (the s) on the east of the palace, and the Lee Royal Family Art Museum, a new building, which was on the west of the Deoksu Palace. The two museums became known as the Deoksu Palace Art Museum.
The first private art museum, “The Cho-sun Minjok Art Museum,” was founded at the Jip-Kyung Dang (Hall of compiling Books) inside of the Kyung-Bok Palace in 1924. Ironically, a Japanese scholar, Yanaki Muneyoshi, initialized this art museum project in 1921, and the art museum was created through his and other donor’s endowments and donations.
In 1938, Mr. Hyung-pil Chon３８, one of the richest men in Korea at the time, founded the first private Korean art museum, “Bo-Hwa gak (the Pavilion of Flowery Treasures).” Even though there was a private art museum, The Cho-sun Min-jok Art Museum, prior to that time, it was founded mainly by the Japanese scholar. Mr. Chon graduated from the Waseda University in Japan, 1930. After graduation, he came back to Korea and started to collect Korean artwork in collaboration with Sae-chang Oh, who was a Korean scholar, as well as Korean painters, Yong-jin Kim, and Hee-dong Ko. His collection was very carefully compiled. The collection includes paintings, calligraphy, ceramics, a variety of Buddha statues and sculptures, pagodas, and many other objects. Many objects of national significance are in his art collection, he opened his private art museum to the public in 1938. After Mr. Chon’s death in 1962, his descendents and students founded “The Han-Guk Min-jok Misul Yeonguso (the Korean Art Research Institute)” and affiliated with “Bo-Hwa Gak,” the museum, with the Institute in 1966. The Han-Guk Minjok Misul Yeonguso has classified and systematically analyzed the collection. On the basis of the study and research of the collection, it organizes two special exhibitions in the spring and the fall per year with a publication of the catalogue, “Gan-Song Munhwa.”
ⓒ 모암문고 www.moamcollection.org