A PLASTER sculpture by Jose Rizal, the only Rizaliana of its kind to be offered for public auction, is the main highlight of León Gallery’s “Spectacular Mid-year Auction 2016” on June 11.
“Jabali” (Wild Boar) is one of only some 40 extant sculptures of the National Hero. Many of them were destroyed during World War II.
Incidentally the June 11 auction will take place a week before the 145 birth centenary of Rizal on June 19, 2016.
León Gallery director Jaime Ponce de León said the midyear auction would feature artworks, antiques and objets d’art from “distinguished provenances.”
“The work of indubitable provenance descended from an unbroken line from Rizal’s second oldest and closest sister Narcisa Lopez y Rizal,” Ponce de León said.
He added historian Ambeth Ocampo had confirmed the authenticity of the work.
Ocampo says in the catalogue “Jabali” is one of 43 extant sculptures made by Rizal. It was made in his “mature period” during his exile in Dapitan, Zamboanga, in 1892-1896.
“‘Jabali’ is one of the few sculptures he made in Dapitan, inspired by his surroundings,” Ocampo writes. “It is one of a set that includes a work depicting his common-law wife Josephine Bracken in bed; a portrait of Dapitan governor Ricardo Carnicero; and two equally well-known and reproduced works: ‘Buglay’ showing a woman cutting grass, and ‘Mother’s Revenge,’ depicting a dog attacking a crocodile with a puppy in (the latter’s) mouth.”
Ocampo adds Rizal made references to “Jabali” in his letters to his family describing the monotony of exile. He wrote in his letters about the wild boars that would forage at night and that he had killed so many of them so that he had gro wn tired of pork.
“One wild board he immortalized in this charming sculpture, inherited by his sister Narcisa Rizal Lopez, was handed down by descent to its present owner,” Ocampo writes. “It is the first, the only piece of Rizaliana (of its kind) that has ever been offered for public auction.”
Starting bidding price is P3.8 million.
Other important pieces
A very important Carlos “Botong” V. Francisco work in oil is “Pista ng Angono,” signed and dated 1960. It is finished and a never repeated subject of the artist. Its starting bid is P5 million.
The fiesta ritual of Angono is a parade carrying the image of San Clemente on the lake on the edge of the town, under a bamboo arch, accompanied by uniformed devotees and a brass band.
“Salvador Juban, the artist-assistant of Botong, even recalls the Angono master doing the work in the sala of his home,” Ponce de León noted. “The exquisite artwork was discovered in London some three decades ago and has remained in the same private collection of an English gentleman to date.”
Another important piece is Nena Saguil’s 1953 oil-on-wood “Barrio Mother and Child,” which will be auctioned off starting at P2 million.
“Nena Saguil has been synonymous to her abstract works, but in the late 1940s and the early ’50s she did her own unique style of figurative paintings,” Ponce de León said. “León Gallery is privileged to offer at auction Nena Saguil’s 1953 ‘Barrio Mother and Child’ from the Dr. and Mrs. Romeo Gustilo Collection. Dr. Romeo Gustilo was one of the founders of the Makati Medical Center.”
Also a significance piece is Pablo Amorsolo’s 1942 oil-on-canvas “Dalagang Bukid,” acquired directly from the artist by Ambassador Joaquin Miguel in the mid-1940s. Its starting bid is P800,000.
Much like his older brother Fernando Amorsolo, Pablo’s art often featured people at their most indigenous in bucolic settings and dress.
National Artist Fernando Amorsolo’s 1956 oil-on-canvas “Winnowing Rice” depicts women’s bent bodies with hidden faces in their everyday hard work. It has a starting price of P1.8 million. The artist has 10 other paintings up for auction on June 11.
Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo’s oil-on-canvas “Chateau d’If,” which echoes the artist’s fascination with the violence of the sea, has a starting price of P4 million.
National Artist Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera’s 1998 acrylic-on-canvas “Isadora in Motion,” which measures 244 cm x 198 cm, depicts American dancer Isadora Duncan “in the midst of what appears to be a graceful twirl, with the fabric of her costume gloriously in flight.” Its starting price is P8 million.
Another noteworthy piece is Claudio Bravo’s 1968 portrait of Chona Recto Kasten, wearing a fuchsia silk “jelaba” by Christian Espiritu. It will be auctioned off starting at P1.8 million.
Ang Kiukok’s 1997 oil-on-canvas “Cockfight” showcases an “aggressive display of aerial combat between two fighting-cocks engaged in battle.” Its starting price is P4 million.
Another sought-after piece is Cesar Legaspi’s 1979 oil-on-wood “Three Nudes.” One of the National Artist’s earlier signature abstract paintings depicting the female body, it will be sold starting at P1.6 million.
One of the surprising few works of Anita Magsaysay-Ho is the near-surreal “Cocktail,” which features a ’50s-era club habitué, set against the expressionist brushstrokes of the dark backdrop. It’s starting bid is P1 million.
Formal bidding will be on June 11, 2 p.m., at the Eurovilla 1, Rufino and Legapi Streets, Legaspi Village, Makati City.
For catalogue access, visit www.León-gallery.com or e-mail info@León-gallery.com.