Businessman gifts 2,000 art piecesA second-generation Korean-Japanese businessman has donated more than 2,000 works of art, which he collected over more than 40 years, to the Gwangju Museum of Art.
“The collection is the result of my blood, sweat and tears, but it is also an important part of history and culture and I thought many people should be able to share it,” said Ha Jeong-ung, 67, an honorary director of the Gwangju museum.
“Not only companies but individuals need to take part in the ‘mecenat movement’ if they can afford to do so,” Mr. Ha said. Mecenat is a French word meaning support of arts and culture.
Mr. Ha previously made donations in 1993, 1999 and 2003 to the Gwangju museum. The pieces included work by Korean and international artists such as Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Andy Warhol, Henry Moore and Ben Shahn. The museum estimated those donations to be worth 100 billion won ($107 million). Next fall, Mr. Hwang plans to donate another 180 contemporary art pieces to the museum.
Mr. Ha was born in Japan to parents from Yeongam county, South Jeolla province. After graduating from a vocational high school, he made a fortune managing electronics stores.
“I liked drawing when I was young, but I was too poor to start the life of a painter,” he said. “After I became well-off, I began to collect art to make up for my lost dream.”
Mr. Ha has bought works by young Korean artists and brought Japanese artists to the Gwangju Biennale. He also celebrated the publication of his autobiography, “Art of My Wish,” in Seoul on Nov. 24.
“I included the difficulties and discrimination I experienced as a Korean-Japanese, the efforts I made to overcome that and my thoughts about art in the book,” he said.
by Lee Hai-suk