Art/Style/Travel Diaries

Anita Magsaysay-Ho tops Leon Gallery’s The Magnificent September Auction

Laughter, her first oil painting, goes for P63.7 million; Girl in a Maria Clara, influenced by Amorsolo, fetches P7.8 million

Lot 26, Anita Magsaysay-Ho (1914 - 2012), Laughter, signed and dated 1957 (lower right), oil on canvas, 24" x 20" (61 cm x 51 cm), SOLD: PHP 63,684,800

Leon Gallery’s The Magnificent September Auction made world records anew for Filipino masters.

Anita Magsaysay-Ho took firmer  hold of her title as the  “Queen of Philippine Auctions,” with Laughter, her first oil painting, going under the hammer for P63.7 million. Laughter is among the celebrated works by Magsaysay-Ho from her golden age of the 1950s, immortalizing the triumphs and resilience of the Filipina. Another Magsaysay-Ho, Girl in a Maria Clara, which bares the influence of her mentor, Fernando Amorsolo, went for P7.8 million.

Anita Magsaysay-Ho (1914–2012), ‘Girl in a Maria Clara,’ signed and dated 1944 (lower left), oil on masonite board, 24” x 18” (61 cm x 46 cm), sold for P7,810,400

Works by the Neo-Realists Vicente Manansala and H.R. Ocampo reached the P30 million mark. Manansala’s Fish Vendors, from the collection of movie star Celia Flor, went for P28.8 million. Ocampo’s Dilemma, from the collection of former Press Secretary Kit Tatad, commanded P26.4 million.

From the Celia Flor collection: Vicente Manansala (1910–1988), ‘Fish Vendors,’ signed and dated 1969 (upper right), oil on canvas, 30 1/2″ x 34 1/2″ (77 cm x 88 cm), sold for P28,838,400

Hernando R. Ocampo (1911–1978), ‘Dilemma, ‘signed and dated 1958 (lower right), oil on canvas, 24″ x 32″ (61 cm x 81 cm), sold for P26,435,200

The Filipino cultural identity became so distinct.

The joyous Tinikling Feast of Fernando Amorsolo, from the collection of banker Edilberto “Ed” V. Pozon, went for P20 million. Another Amorsolo, the poignant Sisa, went for P6 million.

Fernando Amorsolo (1892–1972), Tinikling Feast, signed and dated 1961 (lower right), oil on canvas, 30″ x 40″ (76 cm x 102 cm), sold for P19,826,400

Fernando Amorsolo (1892–1972), Sisa, signed and dated 1934 (lower right), oil on canvas board, 19 1/4″ x 13″ (49 cm x 33 cm), sold for P5,767,680

The iconic image of Sabel by Benedicto Cabrera, now a classic, went for more than P18 million.

Demand for works depicting Filipino heroes continued. Juanito Torres’ masterpiece depicting the ilustradosLa Solidaridad, fetched a record-breaking P4.3 million, setting a new benchmark price for this contemporary artist. Guillermo Tolentino’s Homage to Rizal and His ‘Triumph of Science over Death’ went for P781,040, while Emmanuel Garibay’s tribute to the national hero, Gunita, sold for P2 million.

Juanito Torres (b.1978), La Solidaridad, signed and dated 2013 (lower right), oil on canvas, 68″ x 92″ (173 cm x 234 cm), sold for P4,325,760, a world record for the artist

Guillermo Tolentino (1890–1976), Homage to Rizal and His ‘Triumph of Science over Death’, signed and dated 1915. plaster, height: 23″ (58 cm), sold for P781,040

Emmanuel Garibay (b. 1962), Gunita, signed and dated 2010 (lower left), oil on canvas, 72″ x 48″ (182 cm x 122 cm), sold for P2,042,720

Priceless heritage treasures fetched good prices. Bu’luls from the trove of leading Cordillera art collector Angel Lontok Cruz featched good sums; a pair of bu’luls from the early 19th century and a seated bu’lul from the mid-19th century both gained good results, with each lot coming in at P3.1 million.  A pair of historically and culturally significant 19th-century tapestries from Miag-ao, Iloilo, went for P2.6 million.

A seated ‘bu’lul,’ mid-19th century, narra hardwood with a natural patina, Lagawe or Kiangan, height (from base to top of head): 23 1/4″ (59 cm), width at shoulder: 5 1/2″ (14 cm), base (h x w x b): 4 3/4″ (12 cm) x 7 3/4″ (19.5 cm) x 7 1/2″ (19 cm), sold for P3,124,160

Pair of ‘bu’lul,’ ca. early 19th century, narra wood with heavy encrustation, Central Ifugao, Banaue, Male: Height: 21 1/2″ (54.5 cm); width at shoulder: 5 1/2″ (14 cm); base (h x w x d): 5″ (13 cm) x 6″ (15 cm) x 6 3/4″ (17 cm), female: height: 20 1/2″ (52 cm); width at shoulder: 5 3/4″ (14.5 cm); base (h x w x d): 5 1/4″ (13.2 cm) x 6″ (15 cm) X 6″ (15 cm), sold for P3,124,160

Philippine abstract art also did well in the auction.

Pioneer of Minimalism Leo Valledor’s Poleka (Slowly), which was described by Leon Gallery curator Lisa Guerrero Nakpil as “influenced by the black man’s music, jazz,” broke a new world record for the artist at more than P5 million.

Leo Valledor (1936–1989), Poleka (Slowly), signed and dated 1965 (verso), acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 96″ (61 cm x 244 cm), sold for P5,046,720, a world record for the artist

Zen master Lao Lianben drew good bids: White Matter hit P4.1 million, a triumphant win not only for the artist but also for its owner, prominent socialite Menchu Katigbak. An early of work of Lao, Thinking of a View, fetched P6.6. million.

From the Maria Carmencita ‘Menchu’ Katigbak collection, Lao Lianben (b. 1948), White Matter, signed and dated 1997 (lower left), acrylic, modeling, pastel, pencil on canvas, 36″ x 24″ (91 cm x 61 cm), sold for P4,085,400

Lao Lianben (b. 1948), Thinking of a View, signed (verso) and dated 1983 (center and verso), mixed media, 35″ x 48″ (89 cm x 122 cm), sold for P6,608,800

Fernando Zobel’s Bernard Childs Pintado Mi Retrato en su Estudio de Paris, depicting a cordial dialogue with a beloved friend and fellow artist Bernard Childs, went for P21.6 million.

Fernando Zóbel (1924–1984), ‘Bernard Childs Pintado Mi Retrato en su Estudio de París,’ signed (lower right and verso), dated 1967, oil on canvas, 39 1/2″ x 39 1/2″ (100 cm x 100 cm), sold for P21,600,000 million

There were other equally impressive world records: an enigmatic Untitled work by Elaine Navas (P1.9 million), and Kitty Taniguchi’s The Ballet Dancer (P1.3 million).

Elaine Navas (b. 1964), Untitled, signed and dated 2018 (lower left), oil on canvas, 48″ x 72″ (122 cm x 183 cm), sold for P1,922,560

From the Edilberto B. Bravo collection: Kitty Taniguchi (b. 1952), ‘The Ballet Dancer,’ signed and dated 2007 (lower left), oil on canvas, 71″ x 71″ (180 cm x 180 cm), sold for P1,321,760

To view the complete auction results, visit Adrian Maranan

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