Art/ Collection/ Art Object

전(傳) 오원 장승업 (1843–1897) 청동기와 화초가 있는 정물화 조선
傳 吾園 張承業 器皿折枝圖 朝鮮
Still life with bronze vessels and flowering plants

Attributed to Jang Seung-eop (pen name: Owon) (Korean, 1843–1897)
Joseon dynasty (1392–1910)
Ten-panel folding screen; ink on paper
Overall: 77 in. × 14 ft. 2 in. (195.6 × 431.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Anita H. Berger, in memory of Ambassador Samuel D. Berger, 2014
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 233
In the nineteenth century, still-life paintings of precious vessels with flowering plants and/or fruits emerged as a distinct and popular genre (Korean: gimyeong jeoljido). The bronzes in this screen are more stylized or exaggerated versions of late Qing-period (1644–1911) Chinese examples, which were known in Korea from imported collectibles or their representation in Chinese paintings, prints, or lithographs.

The left-most panel bears the signature and seal of Jang Seung-eop, the leading court artist of the time. Since students and others signed for the illiterate master, some works attributed to Jang may in fact be collaborations or by his immediate followers. Regardless of authorship, this work is a rare and fine example of turn-of-the-twentieth-century still-life painting in the screen format.

Two inscriptions on the back of the right-most panel offer notable provenance for this screen. The first inscription states: “1964 July 9th gifted to United States Ambassador Samuel D. Berger, [from] Park Chung-hee, President of the Republic of Korea [Daehan minguk].” Ambassador Berger retired from a distinguished career in the Foreign Service in 1974. The second inscription reads: “Divine work by Jang Owon, signed by Guryongsanin [pen name of Kim Yongjin (1878–1968), calligrapher and painter].”
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Korea: 100 Years of Collecting at the Met," February 7, 2015–March 27, 2016.

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

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