Artist Whanki Kim belongs to the first generation of Korean Abstract Artists. With a refined and moderated formative expression based on Korean Lyricism, he created his characteristic art world and was respected domestically and abroad including Paris and New York, the centers of Modern Art.
From the late 1930s he pioneered Abstract Art, which was one of the radical art movements, and led Korean Modernism in art. In the 1950s his poetic world was accomplished by modernized and abstracted beauty based on Korean motifs: ceramics, traditional symbols of longevity, plum blossoms, and, later, natural motifs; mountains, rivers, and the moon through his Paris period and Seoul period.
His activity in art reached a culmination in his New York period from 1963, when he received the Honorary Award in the Sao Paulo Biennale, to 1974 when he passed away. Until the 1950s, his art realized Korean sentiments in refined and condensed form but, in the 1960s in the New York period, he intensified a more universal and inner lyrical world with basic formative elements such as dots, lines, and planes.
| Born in Gijwamyeon (currently Anjwamyeon), Shinangun, Jeollanamdo, Korea
| Entered Fine Arts Course at the Nihon University, Tokyo
| Joined the [Avant-garde Art Institute] in Tokyo and obtained guidance from Tsuguharu Fujita and Seiji Togo
| Awarded at the [Kyushitsukai] of [Nikakai Society] in Tokyo
| Participated in [Shingidaiden Group] in Tokyo.
Held the 1st Solo Exhibition at Amagi Gallery, Tokyo.
Came home to Korea
| Served as a professor at Department of Art of the Seoul National University, Seoul
| Formed [Sinsasilpa Group (Neo-Realist)] with Artist Youngkuk Yoo, Gyusang Lee, and so on.
Held [The 1st Sinsasilpa Exhibition] at Whasin Gallery, Seoul
| Evacuated to Busan due to the Korean War.
Served in the Navy Military Painter Corps
| Served as a dean and professor at the Hongik University, Seoul
| Moved to Paris
Held the 6th Solo Exhibition at M. Benegite Gallery, Paris
| Held the 10th Solo Exhibition at Institute Gallery, Paris including paintings of Spring and The Sky
| Returned home to Korea
Held the 11th Solo Exhibition at National Information Center, Seoul including paintings of Mountain and the Moon, Deer in the Moonlight, and Eternal Song.
| Participated in the 7th Sao Paulo Biennale as a representative painter of South Korea and
received the Honorary Award in the category of painting.
Exhibited Island in the Moonlight, Summer Moonlight, and Clouds and the Moon
at the Biennale, Brazil.
Arrived in New York
| Received a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation, New York.
Held the 15th Solo Exhibition at Asia House Gallery, New York
| Invited to the Special Exhibition Room of the 8th Sao Paulo Biennale, Brazil
| Awarded the Grand Prize at the 1st Korea Arts Exhibition sponsored by the Hankook Ilbo with Where, What Have We Become and Met Again at the National Museum of Contemporary Art
in Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul
| Held the 21st Solo Exhibition at Poindexter Gallery, New York including paintings of Heaven and Earth and A Hundred Thousand Dots
| Held the 22nd Solo Exhibition at the Shreveport Barnwell Art Center, Louisiana.
Passed away at the age of 61 years and 5 months in New York