Noted S. Korean painter dies inside Manhattan home at 91

October 22, 2015
Chun Kyung-ja

Chun Kyung-ja

Chun Kyung-ja, a noted South Korean female portrait painter, died inside her Manhattan home in August. She was 91 years old.

Chun’s daughter and caretaker Lee Hye-seon, 70, said her mother passed peacefully around 5 a.m. on Aug. 6.

Lee said a quiet funeral was held inside a New York Catholic church.

Born in 1924 in Goheung County, South Jeolla Province, Cheon resisted her parent’s wishes that she attend medical school to attend art school in 1941.

Her pieces entered prestigious exhibits the following year and in 1943, officially putting her in the spotlight; by 1952, she was a star painter.

Chun immigrated to New York to stay with her daughter in 1991 following a controversy over the legitimacy of one of her artworks inside the National Museum of Contemporary Art.