Ko Hŭi-dong

▪ Korean artist
born 1886, Korea
died 1965, Korea

      Korean artist who pioneered in the application of Western techniques to traditional painting styles. After World War II he became a member of the South Korean government of Syngman Rhee (Rhee, Syngman).

      Born into a high-ranking aristocratic family, Ko in 1908 became the first Korean student to go to Japan to learn the new Western art of oil painting. After his return, however, he found that this new technique had not gained wide acceptance in his native land, and, to avoid the constant criticism directed at his work, he resumed painting in the traditional style, showing the influence of oil technique, however, in his use of shading and interplay of light and shadow.

      In 1945 Ko became the chairman of the Korean Association of Artists, and in 1955 he was elected chairman of the Korean Academy of Arts. His political work soon overshadowed his artistic concerns, and in 1960 he became a minister of the House of Councillors. After a coup overthrew Syngman Rhee the following year, however, he retired from politics.

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Universalium. 2010.

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