The Korea Herald


[Newsmaker] New museum, storage expansion mulled to make room for late Samsung chairman’s art collection

By Park Yuna

Published : April 30, 2021 - 15:41

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"Women and Jars” by Kim Whan-ki is one of the pieces among the late Samsung Group Chairman’s collection to be donated to the MMCA. (MMCA)
Authorities will come up with ways to make room for the late Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee’s art collection, the country’s largest donation of its kind in history, the government said Friday.

“The government is seeking ways to hold artworks donated by Lee including improving storages at museums or building new museums if needed. President Moon Jae-in also raised the issue yesterday,” a Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism official told The Korea Herald.

“But building a particular museum dedicated to the donator is not under consideration yet like some news reports are mentioning.”

The discussion comes as Samsung announced earlier this week a total of 23,000 art pieces that belonged to Lee -- 21,600 antique works and 1,600 modern and contemporary works -- would be donated to mainly two national museums. The donation was made as part of the Samsung family’s plan to pay inheritance tax on Lee’s 30 trillion won in personal assets.

Hwang Hee, minister of culture, sports and tourism, said earlier at a press briefing on Lee’s collection that a discussion on securing more space to house the artworks should be made since more donations could come.

“It is inevitable to consider implementing extra storage or founding new museums as existing storages at national museums are running out. For now, we need time to discuss how to categorize works with the national museums,” he said. 

A total of 1,488 modern and contemporary masterpieces will be given to the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, while 21,600 antique works, including some 60 state-designated national treasures, will be donated to the National Museum of Korea.

By Park Yuna (