Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera’s 2003 oil-on-canvas “Sabel,” one of the largest singular-figure pieces in the “Sabel” series, measuring 96” x 72” (244 cm x 183 cm), was sold for a ground-breaking P46.72 million at León Gallery’s Magnificent September Auction 2015.
Formal bidding was held Sept. 12 at León Gallery, G/F Eurovilla 1, Rufino and Legaspi Streets, Legaspi Village, Makati City.
“The auction went very well and the auction room was fully packed,” gallery director Jaime Ponce de León said. “The results were very good.”
Another BenCab piece during the auction was his oil-on-canvas “Mother and Child,” signed and dated 1996, which sold for P6.4 million.
Also of significance is Anita Magsaysay-Ho’s rare painting, the 1957 oil-on-canvas “Lavanderas,” which sold for P39.71 million. This painting, reputedly the artist’s favorite, is one of her most significant works to ever appear at an auction.
A highly important piece was an untitled work by Juan Luna, signed and dated 1884, which features an elegant European lady shown in the formal dress of the time. It sold for P14 million.
Another noteworthy piece was Jorge Pineda’s 1924 oil-on-canvas “Sungkaan,” which garnered P7 million. This piece is the earliest of the three versions of “Sungkaan.” The two others are at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Collection and the Jorge Vargas Collection.
Among the artists whose works were included in this auction were National Artists Fernando Amorsolo, Arturo Luz, Hernando R. Ocampo, Vicente Manansala, José Joya, Jerry Elizalde Navarro, Victorio Edades, Cesar Legaspi, Ang Kiukok, and Federico Aguilar Alcuaz.
Modern masters featured were Juvenal Sansó, Fernando Zóbel, Romeo Tabuena, Eduardo Castrillo, Ramon Orlina, Onib Olmedo and Solomon Saprid.
Contemporary artists featured were Emmanuel Garibay, José Tence Ruiz, Ronald Ventura, Jigger Cruz and Lynyrd Paras.
Amorsolo’s 1958 oil-on-canvas “Under the Mango Tree” fetched a bid of P4.67 million. The piece bears the bucolic elements commonly found in Amorsolo’s works, such as the paddy fields and peasants in cool tropical greens, a romantic depiction of the Philippine countryside during the prewar era.
Ang’s 1981 oil-on-canvas “Seated Figure,” which shows a dehumanized figure reduced to bones, sold for P11.68 million.
Manansala’s 1975 oil-and-ink “Adam and Eve,” in the artist’s typical nude drawings, was bought for P6.42 million.
Bright colors burst in Navarro’s oil-on-canvas “Baris Dancer,” signed and dated 1989. Baris means “warrior formation.”
Ventura’s three untitled mixed-media works, done between 2005 and 2006, garnered P3.74 million. Rooted in the pagan and animist beliefs of pre-Hispanic Filipinos, these works showcase the appearance of humans and animals.
Garibay’s 2005 oil-on-canvas “Himig ng Buhay,” which bears the artist’s expressionist figurative style, was sold for P700,8000.
Using vivid colors, Jigger Cruz’s 2015 oil-on-canvas-and-wood “Wandering Carnival” shows the artist’s line of agitated and viscous works. It was sold for P1.28 million.
Marina Cruz’ 1982 oil-on-canvas “White on Red with Threads” and Nena Saguil’s 1964 watercolor-on-paper “Paris” (sold for P3.27 million and P1.99 million, respectively) beat the records previously set by other auction houses both local and overseas.
Isidro Ancheta’s oil-on-board “Landscape,” which sold for P700,800, surpassed the record set by León Gallery.
For the furniture, the Important Mesa Altar by the Batangas Master II, which came from the Tony and Cez Gutierrez Collection, was sold for P1.87 million.
The late-19th-century Ilocos Partners’ Desk in kamagong and narra, a sought-after piece, fetched P1.99 million.
The glass-encased “Calvario in Virina”—which depicts the Calvary scene with the Crucified Christ, the Sorrowful Mother or Dolorosa, St. John the Evangelist and Mary Magdalene—was bought for P2.80 million.