Home of Korea’s First Western Painting Artist Chungok Goh Hui-dong House
At 16, Wonseo-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, stands the house of Korea’s first western painting artist, Goh Hui-dong. He lived here for forty years from 1918. He was born to a father who was a translator-turned government official in favor of enlightenment, majored in French at Hanseong Language Government School and started his career as a government official to pursue the enlightenment of the public. Goh went to Japan to study western painting at Tokyo Art School in 1915 and returned to Korea to become the first Korean western painting artist. He pioneered the formation and development of modern painting circles as a leader of the new art movement. Goh designed a wooden hanok, a traditional Korean house, by himself in 1918, the year he returned to Korea from his study overseas. His design combined with the strengths of the western and Japanese home architecture, displaying the characteristics of Korean houses of the time. After he had moved out of the house in 1959, it changed ownership several times, leading to several repair and reconstruction projects, which cause it to lose some of its originality. When the house was planned to be demolished, many people started to speak out and expressed that house is meaningful as the foundation of Korean modern art as well as an excellent example of the residential housing during Japanese colonial rule. For this reason, in 2004, this structure became a registered cultural property under the name ‘Wonseo-dong Go Hui-dong House’, and after it was restored, the house was opened as an exhibition venue in November, 2012.