Academic Realism, Korean By Heangga, Kwon
Academic Realism refers to the mainstream style of Western painting from the Japanese colonial era (1910–45), as exemplified by works shown at the Joseon Art Exhibition (1922–44), the representative government exhibition in Korea. In the West, Academism is characterized by classical features, but Korean Academism was marked by a somewhat compromised blend of Realism and Impressionism. The style is “compromised” because the Korean artists making Western paintings at the time had mostly received Academism through their art education in Japan. Two of the movement’s representative artists are Lee Ma-dong (1906–81) and Kim In-seung (1911–2001), both of whom graduated from the Tokyo School of Fine Arts and became the major artists of the Joseon Art Exhibition. After Korean independence in 1945, Modernism and various experimental art forms emerged, and Academic Realism was heavily criticized for its conservative nature. However, it continued to exert its influence as the preferred style of the National Art Exhibition of Korea (Gukjeon) (1949–81), and as a necessary skill for students hoping to enter art school.