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Investigation Reveals 58 Lee Joong-sup, Park Soo-keun Paintings Are Fake

Investigation Reveals 58 Lee Joong-sup, Park Soo-keun Paintings Are Fake

Posted October. 08, 2005 07:57,   


The art world is buzzing over a big-time forgery scandal.

According to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office on October 7, 39 pieces of Korean artist Lee Joong-sup and 19 of Park Soo-keun were all found to be fake, after being examined by the National Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Institute of Science Investigation and Seoul National University’s National Center for Inter-University Research Facilities.

The prosecutors’ office announced that it will start investigations into the details of how a large number of art pieces could have been distributed, which is expected to create a stir in the art field and the domestic painting market.

The paintings that were examined include four pieces that Lee’s second son Lee Tae-seong (56) put up for auction in March, eight pieces that the family had, 45 pieces possessed by Kim Yong-su (67, honorary chairman of the Korean Old Books Research Association) and five in the possession of a Japanese individual.

The prosecution stated that the appraisal body of 16 professors, artists and gallery owners from three organizations all judged the 58 pieces to be forged. It also turned out that through an analysis of the handwriting, the signature on the forged pieces were found to be different from the real signature.

Accordingly, the prosecution has decided to acquit the Korean Art Appraisal Association on the charges of libel that Lee brought up after the association judged the four pieces put up for auction to be fake.

The prosecution will confiscate 2,740 pieces of the painters which are mostly the size of a postcard, of which 994 pieces are of Lee and 1,746 pieces of Park that Kim possesses, and launch an investigation into the process of how the forgeries were made.

Mun-Myung Huh angelhuh@donga.com leon@donga.com