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

Past and Present of Korean Portraiture: Virtual Symposium

A panel of international scholars delves into Korean portraiture past and present in this virtual symposium. 

Free Tickets

Explore the differences between portraiture in Korea and in other East Asian countries in this virtual symposium presented in conjunction with the exhibition Likeness and Legacy in Korean Portraiture. Robyn Asleson kicks off the afternoon by focusing on contemporary approaches to depicting the human visage by artists Young June Lew, Do Ho Suh, and Yun Suknam. Kyungku Lee will speak on the paintings of meritorious officials that form the core of the exhibition and Soomi Lee will add context by discussing Joseon dynasty portraiture more broadly. The afternoon concludes with a presentation by Chi-sun Park, who will offer insights into the mounting and conservation of portrait paintings from that era. Deputy Director of Arts and Programs Robert Mintz moderates. 




Robyn Asleson is curator of the Prints and Drawings Department at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Her exhibitions and publications often explore transatlantic crosscurrents in art, the relationship of the visual and performing arts, and women as cultural agents. Her current exhibition projects include Brilliant Exiles: American Women in Paris, 1900–1939 and the team-curated Portraiture Now: Kinship. Asleson has held positions at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. She holds B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University. 


Soomi Lee is head of the fine arts division and curator of Korean painting at the National Museum of Korea. Lee was awarded a visiting fellowship at the Harvard-Yenching Institute and worked as a visiting curator at the British Museum in 2013. Her exhibitions include Though the Eyes of Joseon Painters: Real Scenery Landscapes of Korea; The City in Art, Art in the City; and Portrait Sketches of the Joseon Period: Chobon. She edited the three-volume catalogue “Portraits of the Joseon Dynasty” (2007–2009). She holds a Ph.D. in art history from Seoul National University. 


Kyungku Lee is professor of history at Hallym University in Korea. Prior to this, he held a position at Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies at Seoul National University. His research focuses on Korean politics and philosophies in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. His recent publications include “Joseon, the Kingdom of Philosophy: Story of Horak Debate,” and “Joseon Intellectuals Map of the Seventeenth Century.” He studied Korean history at Seoul National University. 


Chi-sun Park is professor in the Department of Conservation of Cultural Properties at Yong-In University and director of the Korean Mounting and Conservation Association. She studied painting at Seoul National University and painting and book conservation at the Conservation Center of the Kyoto National Museum, completed conservation courses in Japan, and earned a PhD in art history from Dongguk University. She established the Jung-Jae Conservation Center in Seoul, where she has completed numerous major conservation projects to restore Korean national treasures. She has studied the Joseon dynasty’s original mounting style, as well as how Korean, Japanese, and Chinese mountings differ.  


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

Organizers & Sponsors

This symposium has been supported by the Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation, Korea. 

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