October 28, 2023–March 3, 2024


Korea in Color ID


The special exhibition Korea in Color: A Legacy of Auspicious Images sheds light on the use of color in Korean painting—known as polychrome painting (chaesaekhwa)—and its role in Korean art and culture. Polychrome painting flourished during the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910) and the colorful artworks created during this era, featuring symbolic images from sacred to secular, permeated all sectors of society. Highlighting contemporary works of art in dialogue with select masterpieces from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the fifty works presented throughout these galleries highlight the continued influence of color and the legacy of auspicious images, long overshadowed by painting created in black ink, and span a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, prints, video, and multi-media installations.

Korea in Color invites visitors to encounter the role art once played in everyday Korean life across four themes connected to a traditional household: protection offered by animals at the doorstep; symbols of abundance and longevity in the garden; scholarly objects and books in the study; and the appreciation of majestic mountains beyond the walls of the home. These four sections are organized around core elements of traditional Korean painting: Byeoksa, protection against evil spirits; Gilsang, good fortune; Gyohun, edification; and Gamsang, appreciation, and prompt consideration of how these qualities intersect with life today.



Korea in Color: A Legacy of Auspicious Images is a­n exhibition of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, in collaboration with Korean Culture and Information Service, Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles, and The San Diego Museum of Art.

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Support for Korea in Color: A Legacy of Auspicious Images is provided by Korean American Muse, Proven Recruiting, and the members of The San Diego Museum of Art. Institutional support for the Museum is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.

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Featured: Seongpa, Fierce Tiger Woke Up (detail), 2012. Lacquer on panel. 63 25/32 x 224 13/32 inches. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.