Jaime Ponce de León doesn’t seem to be the type to believe in luck, but mere minutes after León Gallery’s Kingly Treasures Auction 2019 came to a very successful end, he couldn’t help but exclaim how lucky they where to have been able to put together a smash collection for art auction leader’s year-end sale.
“For us auction houses, it is very difficult to assemble such an astounding collection,” De León said. “We’re fortunate in this sale that the stars aligned and that we had the best Fernando Zobel, as well as an exceedingly beautiful BenCab and Ang Kiukok works from his best period, and the best Lee Aguinaldo from his very early ‘Linear’ series. This actually shows the demand of the collecting community… once quality is present, buyers will troop.”
National Artist Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera’s large “Sabel” (237 ½ cm x 145 cm) signed and dated in 1991 was sold for P39.71 million while Fernando Zobel’s “Perales de Tajuna” sold for P35.04 million.
The large contemporary work, “Procession” by Andres Barrioquinto, a highly surreal and very colorful work of exotic birds and their plumes went for P17.52 million, a world record for the artist in an auction.
Rounding up the top five are Alfonso Ossorio’s “Crossroads,” a mixed-media piece that sold for P11.09 million, and Ang Kiukok’s “Screaming Figures,” P9.92 million.
Final price with buyer’s premium for Aguinaldo’s “Linear” was P3.27 million.
Jorge Pineda’s “Kakawate” and “Rizal’s Execution” were sold for P1.51 million and P1.28 million, respectively.
Other impressive sales include a contemporary interpretation or reimagining of the classic work by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, P9.34 million; Fernando Amorsolo’s “Tinikling” at P8.76 million; Lao Lianben’s “Buddha,” which was heavily contested by at least three bidders before selling at P7 million; two “Mother and Child” pieces by Ang Kiukok at P5.84 million each; and an untitled skyscape by Betsy Westendorp at P2.8 million.
Still other notable sales: Eduardo Castrillo’s modernist sculpture “Flight,” P2.33 million; National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon Abueva’s “Kalabaw,” P584,000; National Artist Cesar Legaspi’s brilliant untitled abstract nude, P2.8 million; National Artist J. Elizalde Navarro’s beautiful Bali landscape, “Mt. Bator, on the Road to Kintamani, Bali,” P1.28 million; Virginia Ty’s “Malakas at Maganda,” an interpretation of the famous work by her mentor at the University of Santo Tomas, National Artist Francisco “Botong” Francisco, P140,160; and Oscar Zalameda’s charming untitled work on tennis, P642,400.
Since the Kingly Treasures auction was held Nov. 30, the birthday of Katipunan founder and Philippine revolutionary leader Andres Bonifacio, several historical documents and relics related to the revolutionary movement were successfully bid out.
The extremely rare and exceedingly important historical document of the Katipunan Blood Oath went for P4.43 million from a starting bid of P500,000.
Katipunan “cedulas personales” or identification papers sold for P525,600; Gen. Miguel Malvar’s edict on honorable conduct and proper treatment of enemy combatants, P292,000; Gen. Vito Belarmino’s dagger, P373,600; the earliest Katipunan document in Philippine hands: the appointment of Restituto Javier as Katipunan representative in Mindanao, P1.28 million; and map of the Katipunan movements at Pugad Lawin as published as a supplement in El Español newspaper, P759,200.