Art/ Collection/ Art Object

이유원, 매화도 조선
李裕元 梅花圖 朝鮮
Plum Branch

Artist:
Yi Yuwon (Korean, 1814–1888)
Period:
Joseon dynasty (1392–1910)
Date:
dated 1888
Culture:
Korea
Medium:
Hanging scroll; ink on paper
Dimensions:
58 1/16 x 37 3/16 in. (147.5 x 94.5 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Seymour and Rogers Funds and Bequest of Dorothy Graham Bennett, 1990
Accession Number:
1990.230
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 233
Delicate plum blossoms, budding in the chill of early spring, dot the long, swerving branch and its thin off-shoots; behind, a second, smaller branch echoes its lines. This impressionistic painting is both representational and abstract. In East Asia, plum blossoms, along with bamboo, chrysanthemums, and orchids, not only represent the four seasons but also form a quartet known as the Four Gentlemen (Korean: sagunja), a symbol of the virtuous Confucian scholar.

A distinguished scholar-official who served as prime minister in 1873 under Emperor Gojong (r. 1864–1907), Yi Yuwon was also a recognized painter, poet, and calligrapher.
Signature: Signature of the artist with two seals

Inscription: Inscription dated to Wu-tu (1888)

The inscription adds that the painting is done in the style of Yuanzhang, which is the style name of the Yuan dynasty painter, Wang Mien [ d. 1359].
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Great Waves: Chinese Themes in the Arts of Korea and Japan I," March 1, 2003–September 21, 2003.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arts of Korea," January 14, 2005–October 29, 2006.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Birds and Flowers," November 1, 2006–April 21, 2007.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Maebyông," October 30, 2007–March 3, 2008.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Representation/Abstraction in Korean Art," November 23, 2010–March 20, 2011.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Splendors of Korean Art," October 1, 2016–September 22, 2018.

Related Objects

Still life with crabs and fish

Artist: Yi Yong-u (artist name: Mungno) (Korean, 1902–1952) Date: probably 1940s Medium: Pair of hanging scrolls; ink and color on paper Accession: 2005.24a, b On view in:Gallery 233

Water-moon Avalokiteshvara

Date: first half of the 14th century Medium: Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk Accession: 14.76.6 On view in:Not on view

Portrait of the Great Master Seosan

Date: late 17th–18th century Medium: Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk Accession: 59.19 On view in:Not on view

Portrait of a scholar

Artist: Chae Yongsin (artist name: Seokji) (ASA) (Korean, 1850–1941) Date: dated by inscription to 1924 Medium: Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk Accession: 2012.329 On view in:Not on view

Still life with bronze vessels and flowering plants

Artist: Attributed to Jang Seung-eop (pen name: Owon) (Korean, 1843–1897) Date: 1894 Medium: Ten-panel folding screen; ink on paper Accession: 2014.247 On view in:Gallery 233