Art traded by nine Korean auction companies in the first half recorded sales of around 103 billion won (US$91.8 million), data compiled by the Korea Art Price Appraisal Association showed Tuesday.
Seoul Auction recorded the biggest art sales of 61.8 billion won, or some 60 percent of the total, followed by K Auction with 35.1 billion won, or 34 percent.
A total of 12,820 art pieces were put up for auction, among which 8,815 found new owners, recording a 68.8 percent successful bidding rate.
The most popular artist turned out to be, not surprisingly, Kim Whan-ki (1913-1974), a pioneer of Korean abstract art, whose paintings sold for 21.4 billion won in total. In May, he broke the Korean art auction record set by himself, when his rare red-dot painting "3-II-72 #220" sold for 8.5 billion won (US$7.87 million) at Seoul Auction's Hong Kong sale.
Kim is followed by Lee U-fan, Lee Jung-seob, Yayoi Kusama, Kim Tschang-yeul, Park Seo-bo, Park Su-geun, Chun Kyung-ja, Paik Nam-june and Lee Dae-won.
The association said the Korean auction market is on the steady rise while noting the need to promote the primary art market, which includes art fairs and gallery sales.