The entrance to the house of celebrity dermatologist Vicki Belo was decorated with clear Lucite boxes and fairy lights. Displayed inside the lighted boxes like museum artifacts were masses of flowers and foliage. The theme continued in the foyer where a large scale painting by National Artist BenCab was displayed prominently.
Inside, more flowers in transparent boxes bookended two long dinner tables in the spacious living area. Aside from the floral centerpieces, a selection of art-inspired charger plates set the mood for Salcedo Auctions’ first art dinner held in a private home.
“In the past, we have held dinners after the Art Fair preceding our ‘Important Philippine Art’ sale but these were held in restaurants and hotels,” said Richie Lerma of Salcedo Auctions. “This is actually our fourth art dinner in as many years.”
At these dinners, paintings and other items up for auction like jewelry and watches are displayed in the venue but this is the first time that Lerma has partnered with a private homeowner. Lerma said that he knew Belo, her daughter Cristalle and Cristalle’s husband Justin Pitt socially. They recently got around to talking about holding this year’s dinner in a home where the pieces could be displayed in a more casual setup.
“A lot of collectors want to see how they will live with the art. That’s very important. You can see the art in a setting where people can interact with it. I think it’s quite special to do it this way because you can imagine how it would be like living with the art,” Lerma said.
Prior to the dinner last week, Belo, who is also an art aficionado, put many of her own pieces in storage so that those from the auction house could be properly highlighted. Aside from two more pieces by BenCab, and paintings by Ang Kiukok and Alfonso Ossorio, were two by Luna—an 1880 boceto for “La Muerte de Celopatra,” and a larger oil on canvas circa 1890s painting titled “The Hunting Party”—and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo’s “Draped Nude, Reclining in A Forest Landscape.”
“I like the idea of living with art if you’re not just collecting for investment. If you buy for no other reason but that you like to be surrounded by these wonderful pieces, what better way to showcase these but in a private residence?” Lerma said.
He and Belo drew up the guest list consisting of “art collectors and also those we’re looking to introduce to art.”
“The great thing about the Belo Medical Group is that they get to know their clients really well, they find out about their interests, and see whether this might be something that interests them.”
Lerma pointed out, however, that Belo would not be getting a commission on any painting or jewelry sold. “We work very independently, we see synergies in what we do,” he said.
Aside from the paintings on display that evening, there was a small lighted showcase of some of the jewelry and watches that will be auctioned off on March 9. The items were a fraction of what can be seen at Salcedo Auctions. Interested parties can still check out the 212 lots until Friday.
The online catalog is available at www.salcedoauctions.com. The preview at Three Salcedo Place is held daily, 10 a.m.-6 p.m until March 8.