Museum Hours
Thu: 1 PM–8 PM
Fri–Mon: 10 AM–5 PM
Tue–Wed: Closed
200 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Likeness and Legacy in Korean Portraiture

Aug 27, 2021 – Nov 29, 2021
Koret Korean Galleries, Tateuchi Gallery

Rare 18th-century portraits and contemporary works explore the deep history of portraiture in Korean culture. 

What was the role of portraiture in establishing identity and legacy in the Joseon dynasty? How do contemporary portraits navigate the boundary between the individual and the collective? Find out in this thought-provoking exhibition, which explores the deep history of portraiture in Korean culture.

Rare ink-on-paper drafts of portraits of Bunmu (renowned military) meritorious officials form the core of Likeness and Legacy in Korean Portraiture. The exhibition shares discoveries about these works that came to light during a 2012 conservation and subsequent study, including new findings about portraiture and artistic processes during the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910).

The exhibition pairs these draft portraits on paper with a selection of finished paintings on silk and contemporary approaches to portraiture by Korean and Korean American artists. Photo-based, mixed-media, and video works by Korean artists Do Ho Suh and Yun Suknam, as well as Korean Americans Ahree Lee and Young June Lew, raise issues of conformity, group identity, and gender in the information age.


Image: Draft portrait of Lee Sam (detail), 1751. Korea, Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). Ink on colors on paper. Asian Art Museum, Gift of Arthur J. McTaggart, 1992.203.d. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

Organizers & Sponsors

Curated by Associate Curator of Korean Art Hyonjeong Kim Han.

Likeness and Legacy in Korean Portraiture is organized by the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Lead support is provided through a gift in memory of Suno Kay Osterweis. Presentation is made possible with the generous support of The Korea Foundation and Sulwhasoo. Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and Hagen Choi

Sustained support generously provided by the Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Endowment Fund for Exhibitions.

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