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The New York Times

Park Seo-Bo is a key figure in the Dansaekhwa (“monochrome painting”) movement, a merging of Korean and international influences.Credit...KyungBum Kim

By Andrew Russeth

SEOUL — In 1951, as the Korean War dragged on, a young artist named Park Jae-Hong headed toward Seoul. The conflict had cut short his first year at art school, and he had been forced into service, first by the North, then by the South, stationed in coastal Masan. He had survived aircraft attacks, meager rations, bitter cold — and had managed to get discharged. Back in the capital, trying to raise tuition money, Park asked soldiers from the United States if he could do their portraits. He traded their dollars for won — Korea’s currency — and bought art supplies and congee made with leftovers from military bases. “One cup of that and a glass of soju, and I would be very happy,” he recalled, through a translator, during a recent afternoon visit.

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