LEÓN Gallery set yet another numerous world records during its Asian Cultural Council (ACC) Philippines Art Auction 2016. The highest-selling piece was Arturo Luz’s oil-on-wood “Magbabanig,” which was sold for P21.02 million.
The auction was held Feb. 20 at León Gallery, Eurovilla 1, Rufino and Legaspi Streets, Legaspi Village, Makati City. It aimed to raise funds for the fellowship program of ACC Philippines.
León Gallery director Jaime Ponce de León said the highest bid paid for a Luz work in terms of hammer price was “Las Borrachos,” which was sold by Christie’s in May 2015 for $490,000.
“The Magbabanig,” which was sold a lot less for $378,000 at the Leon-ACC auction, was a world-record price at $934 per square inch compared to “Las Borrachos,” which was sold at $514 per square inch.
The auction saw numerous world records for artists such as Lee Aguinaldo, Onib Olmedo, Elmer Borlongan.
Aguinaldo’s 1959 oil-on-board “Linear Explosion No. 2” was sold for P9.81 million—the highest selling price for a Lee Aguinaldo at auction.
Ponce de León noted Aguinaldo’s “Linear Explosion No. 2” broke the old record also set by León Gallery for the “Untitled” 1959 work, which sold for P4.20 million in March 2014.
Olmedo’s 1992 “The Apartment,” rendered in ink and acrylic on board, fetched P5.61 million and set a new record for the late Expressionist.
Another new record is Borlongan’s 2000 oil work “Vulcanizing Shop,” which was sold at P6.42 million.
Among the record-breaking modern works in the sale is Norma Belleza’s 1978 oil-on-canvas “A Good Day’s Catch,” which sold for P934,400.
The untitled work by José John Santos III from 2001, sold for P10.51 million, was a world-record price for the artist at auction. It broke León Gallery’s own record for the artist’s 2006 work “The Discussion,” which sold for P8.76 million in 2014.
Among the important works in the auction are by Juvenal Sansó, Fernando Zóbel, Joven Mansit, Ronald Ventura and Anita Magsaysay-Ho.
Sansó’s untitled oil work, which almost borders on nonrepresentational Surrealism, was sold at P2.10 million. Meanwhile, Zóbel’s 1962 oil-on-canvas “Selene III (Fases)” was bought for P6.42 million.
Also a significant piece is Mansit’s 2007 mixed-media work, a recreation of old photographs on canvas, which fetched P2.57 million.
Ventura’s “Lost Race,” which shows a figure of a man crouched on the ground juxtaposed against a rocking horse, was sold for P8.18 million.
A sought-after painting at the auction is Magsaysay-Ho’s 1943 oil-on-wood “Mother and Child,” which hammered in a whopping P9.93 million.
National Artists, including Fernando Amorsolo, Cesar Legaspi, Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera, Ang Kiukok, and H.R. Ocampo, were also well-represented.
Meanwhile, Amorsolo’s two oil works—his 1941 “Under the Mango Tree” and his 1915 “Lavandera”—were both sold for P5.84 million. His other work, “Igorot from the Hills, Baguio,” signed and dated 1928, fetched P3.50 million.
Legaspi’s 1984 oil-on-canvas “Still Life,” which exhibits a great simplification of geometric structure, was bought for P2.45 million.
Tracing age-old fascination with finding beauty in decay and dilapidation, BenCab’s 1967 “Espeleta” was sold at P2.34 million.
Ang’s 1983 tempera work “Crucifixion,” one of the artist’s depictions of Christ in bare bones, was sold for P3.5 million.
Ocampo’s 1961 untitled work, rendered in oil on canvas, features “colors in motion arrested in space.” It was sold for P9.93 million.
For the furniture, the Chest of Drawers with Escritorio (circa 1850)—which was made from narra, kamagong, carabao bone and silver—was sold for P3.05 million.
According to social historian Martin Imperial Tinio Jr., these chests of drawers were usually found in the cuartomayor or master bedroom and, thus, served as the repository of important deeds or documents.
Meanwhile, the Sherato Sideboard from the late 19th century was bought for P525,600.
Made in Baliwag, Bulacan, the Sheraton style of furniture was very popular in the Philippines “made with elegant proportions and inlaid with strips of kamagong and geometrically shaped pieces of carabao bone,” Tinio noted.
Another remarkable piece is the glass-encased Sto. Cristo Expirante from the 19th century, which was made from ivory, wood, silver and gold. It fetched P1.52 million.