The late Samsung chairman’s multibillion-dollar art collection gets its own dedicated Seoul museum


Last spring, the heirs of the late Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee announced that the businessman’s multibillion-dollar collection and more than 23,000 works of art would be dispersed in public institutions in South Korea. But now the saga of the collection’s fate has taken a different turn. This week, the country’s Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Hwang Hee, announced plans to build a new museum entirely dedicated to the Lee collection.

“It is necessary to build a new art room to better manage the donated art collection and study [it]”Hwang said at a press conference today, according to the Herald of Korea. “The objective is to share the donor’s collection and its philosophy of collecting works of art with the general public.

The minister added that while an appropriate budget has not yet been formulated, he expects the new museum to cost $ 88 million (100 billion yen). The provisional name of the venue is Lee Kun-hee Donation Hall.

The works of art in the collection, including expensive pieces by Picasso, Basquiat and Warhol, are expected to remain in Seoul, Lee’s longtime home. Two locations are currently under consideration: one near the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Korea and the other on the grounds of the National Museum of Korea. Both museums already have works of art from the Lee collection in their holdings. The ministry has convened a special committee to oversee the process of research and construction of the new museum.

For those who can no longer wait, several upcoming shows will offer the artistic public the opportunity to see pieces from the collection before heading to their final home. On July 21, the National Museum of Korea and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art will open exhibitions of works from the Lee Collection.

Hwang said a traveling exhibition is also in the works and is expected to tour from the end of 2022. Meanwhile, displays of the collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York are also hammered. outside.

In April, Lee’s heirs, including his son Lee Jae-yong and widow Hong Ra-hee, donated the majority of the collection to the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and the National Museum of Korea to make up part from $ 11 billion (12.5 trillion yen) inheritance tax bill on Lee’s $ 20 billion (22 trillion yen) fortune. Because both institutions are owned and operated by the state, the government controls the Lee collection. The works that have already been donated to regional museums will remain there according to the wishes of the donors.

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