LOVERS of Philippine art, wherever they may be across the globe, now have a new and more convenient platform to access rare and exceptional works by the country’s top artists. Avant will hold the first local online auction of Philippine fine art.
The maiden offering, dubbed “Auspicious Auction” and scheduled in time for the Chinese New Year, is now on view at www.avantauctions.com and up for bids. A real-time, lot by lot auction will be held on Jan. 30 at 1 p.m.
The milestone auction assembles 88 (considered a lucky number in Chinese astrology) carefully selected works covering the past century of Philippine art. Some of the pieces are considered seminal works, while others are thought to signal pivotal junctures in the artists’ careers. Still, some of the other pieces are noteworthy in terms of scale or in the painstaking and innovative methods employed by the artists in their creation.
We previewed the collection and the following lots are our favorites:
Lot 19, “Spring I,” Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, 1983
National Artist Alcuaz was fascinated with the tapestries made in the former Czechoslovakia. He spent long hours in a textile factory in Morovia, outside of Prague, where he developed his so-called “painting with fibers” method. This work is a product of the master’s tedious, manic process.
Lot 28, “Summer Houses in Brittany,” Felix Resurreccion-Hidalgo, 1901
While the composition seems austere, this work is considered a pivotal piece in Hidalgo’s much celebrated aesthetic. Here, he abandons the dictates of academic formalism and experiments with a new palette of suffused whites.
Lot 29, “Sariling Sining Pilipino,” Ricarte Puruganan, 1952
Long before fusion was in vogue, Puruganan was already mashing up indigenous and western elements as evidenced by this work from the postwar era. One of the Thirteen Moderns, he was a visionary who sought to elevate the stature of Philippine art in the global arena.
Lot 60, “Mirror Mirror,” Cesar Legaspi, 1987
This painting is a rare nude in oil and is a surprising departure from National Artist Cesar Legaspi’s signature cubist style and neo-realist temperament. Thoughtfully laid out objects combine with subdued tones and soft lines that play with light and shadow to create a tender portrait of a young woman in her prime.
Lot 61, “Flower and Fruit Vendors,” Oscar Zalameda, c. 1980s
This large, festive work by Oscar Zalameda, is stunning and exceptional because it combines different subjects— flower vendors, fruit sellers, a church— in a singular composition that deviates from the artist’s usual minimalist renditions of singular focal points.
Lot 70, “Posters & Vinyl,” Yasmin Sison, 2009
Yasmin Sison’s works are always powerfully introspective and nostalgic. Here, she metaphorically peels off the complex layers of memory, revealing the fragile nature of memory amid the perpetual corrosion of the past and the futility of remembering.
Lot 76, “Harry Sonik,” Elmer Borlongan, 2013
Freaky, funky and fabulous, this life-sized toy marks Elmer Borlongan’s seminal attempt at making playthings for grown-ups. His whimsical ode to the Pinoy affinity for music, this work is only one of very few copies made for his acclaimed 2013 exhibit collaboration with Secret Fresh.
Lot 86, “Diaphanous—Anthuriums B-CCXXIV2014,” Romulo Olazo, 2014
The art community mourned Romulo Olazo’s passing in 2015. The sheer scale of this recent piece is a testament to the abstractionist’s strength and resolute commitment to art even at the twilight of his life and career. A sea of anthuriums is laid out like layers of positive-negative images in this monumental piece rendered in his signature diaphonic style.
The Avant collection is a fine selection of both well-known and up and coming artists. Among the other artists whose works are also up for bids in this milestone auction are National Artists Arturo Luz, Jose Joya and J. Elizalde Navarro as well as renowned contemporary artists Andres Barrioquinto, Elmer Borlongan, Lynyrd Paras, Rodel Tapaya and Ronald Ventura.
Interested bidders may register and view the auction collection at www.avantauctions.com. Lots may be viewed up-close in a special preview launch to be held on Jan. 27 at the Pavillion, 2/F, LRI Design Plaza in Bel-air, Makati. The real-time, lot by lot on-line auction will start 1 p.m., Jan. 30.