The 1970 painting fetched 33 million Hong Kong dollars ($4.25 million) at a Hong Kong sale held by Seoul Auction on Monday, becoming the most expensive Korean artwork ever sold at auction. The former record was set by Kim’s 1971 painting “19-VII-71 #209,” which was sold for 31 million Hong Kong dollars in October.
The both are so-called dot paintings created by Kim during his New York period (1964-74). These paintings are filled with tens of thousands of round dots, surrounded by layers of square borders that spread across the canvas. Kim’s New York period dot paintings are regarded by art critics and historians as the artist’s greatest achievements in his oeuvre, although the general public tend to prefer his half-abstract, half-figurative paintings depicting traditional Korean motifs from his earlier periods.