Elizabeth Keith, an women artist who loved Korea
100 years ago, a British woman visited Korea and left behind many paintings about Korea related landscape, culture, custom and daily life. Her name is Elizabeth Keith.
Soon when she visited with her older sister from England, she fell in love with the exotic customs and landscapes with the people of this poor country groaning under Japanese colonial period, and with her deep affection. She would like to memory and capture in pictures and text.
Probably, many of you are seeing Elizabeth Keith's paintings for the first time, but around the 1920s and 1940s, old Korea was warm and beautiful.
You will marvel at the detailed drawings.
Most of all, I like the fact that she captured the image of a woman honestly and calmly as a woman. It is impressive that she, who was greatly influenced by Western painting and culture, came to her distant country, the East, and tried to understand and observe their world from their point of view. That is why, in her paintings, instead of excessively colorful ornaments and decorations, the people are portrayed with their postures, expressions, and characteristic colors and patterns.
In fact, Elizabeth Keith left various paintings while visiting various Asian countries such as Japan, China and Hong Kong as well as Korea.
Therefore, if you search for pictures by her name on the above site, you can figure out the images from other countries.
The pictures show how fascinated by the exotic scenery she was. I have painted old houses in Korea and have exhibited them with other paintings. I remember seeing the strange and unusual shape of the house and asking the Germans many questions at the time. In the past, ordinary Koreans made roofs made of woven rice straw, straw, and reeds. Primarily, Choga denotes one of two traditional nature-friendly house types in Korea. The main building materials used to build these houses are straw, wood, and soil. Choga roofs were prevalent among farmers and low-income classes in traditional Korean society.
Old Korean Houses, Myungja Anna Koh
Elizabeth saw the thatched house 100 years ago and said it looked like a mushroom. I find her perspective fresh. It must have felt unfamiliar and strange, like a smurf in this mushroom-like house. She loved such exotic people very much. To see her stranger painting her with her blue eyes, people ran to her wherever she appeared and took a look at her. In such an atmosphere, it seems that it was not easy for her to calmly convey the emotions and beauty of Koreans.
However, with her shiny black eyes, the blue-eyed woman eagerly observes the people who look at her with her curiosity and tries to bring out the emotions, ideas, and philosophies hidden in their appearance.
Looking at her attitude like this, it seems that I am gradually finding the answer to what the picture should contain.
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Myungja Anna Koh