13 of Lee U-fan’s paintings confirmed to be forged
Posted : 2016-06-03 16:53Updated : 2016-06-03 17:42
Lee U-fan’s “Point”
By Yun Suh-young
Police have confirmed that several of artist Lee U-fan’s works were forged.
The announcement on Thursday is based on the results of a National Forensic Service probe. Suspicions about the works arose in 2012.
Thirteen of Lee’s works _ four that were bought by private collectors, eight kept by distributors and sellers and one that was sold at a local auction _ have been confirmed as forgeries. The 13 pieces were compared with Lee’s six genuine works exhibited at local museums.
Lee is best known in Korea and overseas for his “dansaekhwa” series, or monochrome paintings. His works are also among the most expensive pieces by a Korean artist. His “From Line No. 760219” was sold for $2.16 million at a Sotheby’s auction in New York in 2014. Last month, one of his “Wind” series sold for $922,000 at an auction in Hong Kong.
Police started their investigation in June last year after allegations that some of Lee’s forged works were being sold and distributed. Forged paintings of Lee’s “From Point” and “From Line” series were claimed to have been sold for billions of won in several galleries in Insa-dong between 2012 and 2013.
Last month, police arrested and investigated a man suspected of directing the forgery of Lee’s works. Police are investigating another artist for allegedly forging several of Lee’s paintings.
Lee, who said he knew nothing about the forgeries of his paintings when the claims were first made, said in January through a legal representative that if there are forged works purported to be his being sold, then he is the biggest victim of the scandal and would cooperate fully with any police investigation.
Lee is in France preparing for an exhibition. His attorney, Choi Soon-yong, said it was difficult for Lee to return to Korea immediately due to the exhibition but hoped the investigation would end soon so there would be no further speculation about Lee’s works and no further damage would occur.
The forgery confirmation is likely to spur further investigations. Claims have long been made that forgeries of the work of other famous artists, such as Chung Kyung-ja and Park Soo-geun, are also being traded.
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