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Chun's family rebuts prosecution's appraisal result

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"Beautiful Woman" by the late artist Chun Kyung-ja / Korea Times file photo

Artist Chun Kyung-ja
Artist Chun Kyung-ja
By Kwon Mee-yoo

The prosecution declared the late artist Chun Kyung-ja's "Beautiful Woman" is genuine, but the largest forgery scandal in Korean art history is not likely to end soon as the family of the deceased strongly opposes the investigation result.

The defense counsel for Chun's family released a statement rebutting the prosecution's claims.

The counsel said the provenance of the painting says it was owned by Kim Jae-gyu, the head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) who assassinated President Park Chung-hee in 1979, but it does not prove "Beautiful Woman" is authentic.

The attorney said Chun said she gave a painting to a KCIA executive, but it was smaller than "Beautiful Woman." "Many pieces in Kim Jae-gyu's antique and art collection turned out to be fake, so being owned by Kim is not evidence of a genuine painting," the counsel said in a statement.

The painting in question was mounted by Dongsanbang, Chun's exclusive mounter, but the counsel claimed that a forger might have brought the painting to mount, not the artist.

The defense counsel also reacted against the prosecution ignoring the result of scientific inspection by French company Lumiere Technology.

The family requested assessment of the painting by the Paris-based multispectral high definition digitization system for Fine Arts and the company announced last month that there is only a 0.0002 percent possibility of "Beautiful Woman" being painted by Chun.

Bae Geum-ja, a member of the joint counsel, said the prosecution completely ignored state-of-the-art scientific analysis and the wavelet analysis conducted by the prosecution is a lower level method compared to Lumiere Technology's method.

"The prosecution said they applied Lumiere Technology's calculation method to a genuine Chun artwork and it returned a 4 percent possibility, lowering confidence of the technology. However, the French appraisal team did not provide the formula nor equipment to the prosecution and we wonder where the prosecution came up with those numbers," Bae said.

Kwon Mee-yoo

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