“THE AUCTION last year was very successful. It was SRO (Standing Room Only) at the Rockwell Mall Tent and we had 450 chairs. The bestsellers were a painting by Juan Luna inspired by Diego Velasquez and a first edition of the “Noli Me Tangere.”
The speaker was Karen Lerma, president of Salcedo Auctions, during an interview at the Kirov Lounge & Model Unit at Rockwell Center in Makati City. On display were selective items for the second “The Well-Appointed Life: An Auction Weekend, ” to be held Sept. 19-20 at the Rockwell Tent.
This will be preceded by cocktails on Sept. 4 and a preview gallery on Sept. 5-19 at Kirov and the lobby of the new 8 Rockwell Building at Rockwell Center. On display will be all the lots to be auctioned off from the four sales categories—Important Philippine Art, Connoisseur Collection, Fine Jewelry & Timepieces and Rare Automobiles.
“The Juan Luna was authenticated and came from the archives of the Frick Museum in New York.” Lerma said. “Luna was inspired by ‘Portrait of Aesop’ rendered by Velasquez.” The painting sold for P17 million.
The first edition of Rizal’s novel the ‘Noli’ had sold for P7 million.
“There were 400 items and we sold about 80 percent,” said Lerma.
The collection this year will be bigger, with over 500 works of art and craft. These include paintings, sculptures, prints, jewelry, timepieces, collectibles and investment quality pieces.
Paintings by the masters include “Arganda” (1961) by Fernando Zóbel; “Landscape with Igorots” and Untitled (An Old Woman), both 1940, by Fernando Amorsolo; Untitled by Roberto Chabet, 1975; “Las Buyeras,” 1903, by Jorge Pineda; “Figures and Cycles” (Undated, circa 1960s, oil-on-canvas) by the Father of Philippine Printmaking Manuel Rodriguez Sr.; “Mother and Child,” 1992 by Ang Kiukok; Untitled (Vendors), 1977, a watercolor by Vicente Manansala; “The Tempest,” 1965 by José Joya; and an untitled acrylic (2003) from the Larawan Series by BenCab.
The latter painting shows a Filipina lass in an exquisitely folded terno or traje de mestiza Considering BenCab’s appeal, Manila’s collectors will go gaga over this work.
There are signed prints by Miro and Dali.
Another centerpiece is a first edition of “El Filibusterismo” containing an emblem of the Katipunan. The indigenous peoples are represented by a decorative Ifugao warrior figure (bulol), late 19th century; and a figurative house panel, wood with heavily encrusted patina, early 20th century, of the Ifugao tribe.
And there’s an early 20th century brass with copper inlay from the Maranaos of Mindanao.
A modern curiosity is a first edition of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” “Rowling wasn’t known then yet and you can see the typos,” Lerma said.
For the “diamonds are forever” crowd there are diamond rings, one of art deco; jade Chinese tassel knot earrings, fancy Rolex watches, a cocktail ring (Mauboussin), a Bulgari set and a Piaget, a lady’s 18k bracelet watch.
And so for those who have the budget come Sept. 19, start raising your hands. Oh yes, during the cocktails launching on Sept. 4, “There will be surprises, ” said Ritchie Lerma, art specialist, portentously.