Paintings with pedigree, from the 19th century to the modern, are the highlights of the León Gallery Asian Cultural Council Auction (ACC) on Feb. 22, at 2 p.m. at the Eurovilla I sales room on Legazpi Street, Legazpi Village, Makati.
The annual first-quarter auction of León aims to raise money for the ACC’s many worthy grants for Filipino artists to go abroad. “Apart from the usual live action,” said León Gallery director Jaime Ponce de León, “we expect spirited bidding from both Filipino and foreign buyers and institutions through the channels of the telephone and the internet.”
Fabian de la Rosa’s portrait of Rafael Palma’s pair of daughters, “Dos Hermanas (Two Sisters),” has been in the family of Alicia Palma Bautista for almost 100 years. It will be the first time that it will be viewed by the public. A smaller, similar painting happens to be in the Roberto Lopez Collection in the Lopez Museum and is a book piece.A short skip and jump to the moderns features a stunning Manansala still life from a distinguished private collection. Titled “Sinigang na Hipon,” it is a tantalizing treatment of one of the country’s most favorite dishes and draws the eye by the use of negative space.
Danilo Dalena, who art critics say deserves the ultimate accolade as the country’s next National Artist for the Visual Arts, is represented by “Bwisit,” from his acclaimed “Jai-alai Series.”
A collaboration between Jose John Santos and his wife Pam Yan Santos, entitled “If I Behave, Can I Get Your Pogs,” is a highly unusual work featuring a storm cloud, and empty glass and dozens of milk-caps for this popular game.
Amorsolo, Ayala, Olazo
Another time-honored child’s play “Luksong Tinik (Jumping Over Brambles)” is gaily depicted in a light-hearted Fernando Amorsolo painting from 1959.
A unique work that combines painting with a matching tapestry is by Jose Ayala, who has as his son, the famous folk singer Joey. Ayala’s works are enjoying current reconsideration after he first burst onto the art scene in the 1970s. His “unusual paintings are bound to affect the premises and assumptions of Philippine contemporary art,” wrote Leonidas Benesa, the dean of art criticism.A few years later, Benesa would note that Ayala’s work “deals with images that are usually associated with dream or myth. Also the colors used are out of this world, a psychedelia of reds, blues and yellows straight out of Carlos Castañeda’s separate reality.”
Romulo Olazo is represented by the gorgeous work “Permutation Series II, No. 115, B-XVIII,” celebrated by art critic Cid Reyes in the work Romulo Olazo and a monumental work at 5 x 7 feet.
An Annie Cabigting comes from her coveted series of museumgoers contemplating both their mortality—and immortality. In “Mesdames,” she faithfully reproduces the “Portrait of Lucina Brembati,” an evocative depiction of a noblewoman of the High Renaissance painted by Lorenzo Lotto, the Venetian master. A gray-haired woman is in the foreground, also dressed in silk and velvet, signifying this century’s dignity and accomplishment. She seems to be in deep dialogue with the portrait, communicating from her own modern time and space. A brilliant flash of the sky blue shawl leads the eye into a forced perspective of eternity.Kitty Taniguchi, doyenne of Dumaguete, is a new entrant in the auction scene with the work, “Layered Earth.”
Not to be outdone are the pair of auction darlings, Ronald Ventura and Andres Barrioquinto with an offering of three works including “Futile Displeasure” and “Love Vigilante.”
Works by Lao Lianben, Cesar Zalameda, Mauro Malang Santos, Sansó, Romeo Tabuena, Arturo Luz, Fernando Zobel alongside rarities of furniture, silver and ivory will also be on offer.
Important for young artists
ACC grantees through the decades have included Jose Joya, Lucrecia Kasilag, Alice Reyes, Kidlat Tahimik, Ramon Santos and Lamberto Avellana, who have gone on to become Philippine National Artists.
“ACC is important for young artists particularly because it gives them an opportunity to expand their vision and to enhance their experiences and to see contemporary art movements all at the same time by giving them a very meaningful grant,” said Ma. Isabel Ongpin, ACC Philippines Foundation president. “ACC in particular focuses on young artists, gives them a leg up in their trajectory, in their artistic journey.”Joven Cuanang, physician and art patron, said it is of utmost importance that Filipino artists are exposed to art trends abroad.“We are a country, which is almost isolated as an archipelago,” Cuanang said. “We are not really exposed to trends abroad. When the ACC allows our young artists to be given time to really absorb an environment apart from our own… when they come back, they are able to grow in terms of knowledge and attitude.” —CONTRIBUTED INQAccess catalogue at www.leon-gallery.com.