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Most expensive Philippine painting: Joya’s ‘Space Transfiguration’ auctioned off for P112.28M

“Space Transfiguration,” by Jose Joya

Jose Joya’s abstract “Space Transfiguration” officially became the Philippines’ most expensive painting when it was bidded out for more than P100 million on March 3 during León Gallery’s annual benefit auction for the Asian Cultural Council (ACC) Philippines.

Including buyer’s premium (administrative expenses charged by auctioneer to winning bidder), the large Joya abstract was sold for P112.128 million.

Starting bid had been set at P22 million.

Signed and dated 1959 by Joya, “Space Transfiguration” measures 60 x 70 inches and won second prize in the 12th AAP (Art Association of the Philippines) Annual painting contest.

The painting graced the cover of the catalogue of the auction, part of whose proceeds would go to the ACC and its program giving grants to enable young Philippine artists to have a residency abroad.

Joya (1931-1995) himself had been given the ACC grant when he was a young man. He was named National Artist for the Visual Arts posthumously in 2003.

León owner Jaime Ponce de León said the auction result confirmed his announcement that Joya’s “Space Transfiguration” was “the centerpiece” of the auction.

“It is the most exhibited, most famous and the most important work of the artist. No one can dispute this,” said Ponce de León.

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