Art/Style/Travel Diaries

Collections of newshens Lorna Montilla, Tere Orendain at auction

The León Exchange Online Auction puts spotlight on two women who figured in the lives of top Filipino artists

a.) Untitled, handsigned and dated 1977 (lower right), etching, 4/20 11" x 9" (28 cm x 23 cm)
b.) Untitled, handsigned and dated 1975 (lower right), etching, 3/12 12 1/4" x 10" (31 cm x 25 cm)
c.) Untitled, handsigned and dated 1975 (lower right), etching, 3 /20 12 1/4" x 10" (31 cm x 25 cm)
d.) Untitled, handsigned and dated 1975 (lower right), etching, 11/20 12 1/4" x 10" (31 cm x 25 cm)

From Tere Orendain collection:  Lot 247, Norma Belleza (b. 1939) Untitled, signed and dated 1971 (lower left), oil on canvas, 12 3/4″ x 16 1/2″ (32 cm x 42 cm) 

Lorna in her mid-60s

León Gallery opens 2024 with The León Exchange Online Auction featuring the collections of two newshens, Lorna Revilla Montilla and Tere Orendain. Orendain passed away in 2023, and Montilla in 2002. The León Exchange 30th Online Auction is on January 20 and 21, Saturday and Sunday. Bidding begins on the León Exchange platform at exactly 11 a.m.

In this milestone 30th edition, León Exchange continues its commitment to offer the best of Filipino art and introduce it to the emerging generations of art collectors and connoisseurs who are the next stewards of the country’s heritage.

León Exchange Online Auction spotlights the collections of Montilla and Orendain, who were newshens from the ’70s and early ’80s.

‘Lorna’s Garage’ in Mandaluyong, where Lorna Montilla gathered artist friends and showcased their works to the public

From Lorna Revilla Montilla collection: Lot 344, Ang Kiukok (1931-2005), Two Figures I,II,III,IV,V and VI, Six Figure Series Volume No. 2, handsigned and dated 1980 (lower right), etching 3/30, each: 12″ x 11″ (30 cm x 28 cm)

BenCab’s sketch of Lorna Montilla, signed, dated 1967, and dedicated ‘To Lorna’

Lorna Revilla Montilla was an art and culture writer who herself painted in later years.  A raconteur and great lover of life, the country’s leading artists gravitated to her as she organized meet-ups for them; not only did she become their friend, she also wrote about their art and later dabbled in painting herself. That was how she built a highly personal collection of Philippine art.

“Montilla forged friendships with the most prolific artists of her time, now our most cherished ones: Vicente Manansala, Cesar Legaspi, Ang Kiukok, Malang, Eduardo Castrillo, and even the ‘living legends’ of Philippine contemporary  art, Benedicto Cabrera, Manuel Baldemor, and Ramon Orlina,” according to the León Exchange catalog. “She mounted a five-man exhibition consisting of Legaspi, Kiukok, Malang, BenCab, and Gaston Damag at London’s Wraxall Art Gallery in 1982.”

Lorna in her mid-50s

“A mother to many artists, Montilla hosted lunches and parties in her house and lovingly cooked comfort food (a favorite was omelet rice) at Ermita’s legendary pub, Cafe Los Indios Bravos, served during the midnight hours amid drunkenness, thrilling chaos, and agitating sleeplessness.”

“Montilla converted her home garage into an art gallery (aptly named ‘Lorna’s Garage’) that showcased and sold the works of these artists, with pieces from the Filipino masters. Some of their works formed part of Montilla’s collection and are now offered in León Gallery’s opening salvo for 2024, immortalizing her benevolence and genuine bond with these celebrated artists.”

National Artist Jose Joya (4th from left), dinner at Philippine Plaza, Maurice Arcache with newshens Deedee Siytangco (left, foreground), Tere Orendain (beside Joya), Ernie Evora Sioco (second from right) and Thelma Sioson (foreground right) (Photo from Thelma Sioson)

From Tere Orendain collection:  Lot 248, Manuel Baldemor (b. 1947), Higantes Festival, signed and dated 1984 (lower left), oil on canvas, 18″ x 24″ (46 cm x 61 cm)

From Tere Orendain collection: Lot 249, Untitled, signed and dated 1977, carved glass, 3 1/4″ x 3 1/4″ x 2″ (8 cm x 8 cm x 5 cm)

Tere Orendain was the Lifestyle/Arts and Culture editor of Philippine Daily Express in the Martial Law years, until 1986.  Her Arts/Culture page became the page of record of Philippine contemporary art because it featured with unbroken regularity the exhibits of the country’s foremost, as well as emerging, artists. That was when the Philippine art scene teemed with art galleries and art associations. As the catalog puts it, “Orendain’s creative strength primarily lies in editing the page on the arts, traveling, food, and hospitality. She had rubbed elbows and shared stories, gossips, and laughter over sumptuous feasts and meals with many of society’s best: Maurice Arcache, Deedee Siytangco, Ernie Evora Sioco, Thelma Sioson, Jorge Arago, Marita Manuel, and even National Artist Jose Joya.”

In Orendain’s impressive  trove can be found works by Ramon Orlina, Manuel Baldemor, Norma Belleza, and Norberto Carating, among others.

From the Don Benito J. Legarda, Jr. collection: Lot 484, Anita Magsaysay-Ho (1914 – 2012)
i. Nude I, print, 19 3/4″ x 15″ (50 cm x 38 cm)
ii. Nude II, print, 19 3/4″ x 15″ (50 cm x 38 cm)

From the Don Benito J. Legarda, Jr. collection: Lot 492, Fernando Zóbel (1924 – 1984), Carroza, Signed and dedicated to Don Beniting (Benito Legarda), serigraph, 21 1/4″ x 15 1/2″ (54 cm x 39 cm)

From the Don Benito J. Legarda, Jr. collection: Lot 486, Islas Filipinas (Indigena de los alrededores de Manila), M. Ferran, Andaluces Barña (Lit), Engraving, Colored, Paper, 16″ x 11 3/4″ (41 cm x 30 cm)

From the Don Benito J. Legarda, Jr. collection:  Lot 498, Francois-Nicolas Martinet (1731 – 1800), 32 engravings, hand colored engraving on paper, Provenance: Acquired at the The Old Print Shop, Inc. Jan 19, 1983, New York

From the Don Benito J. Legarda Jr. collection:  Lot 513, A Collection of Early 20th Century Ephemerae (Prints depicting Views of Old Manila)
a.) Twenty-Five Souvenir Postcards of Manila and the Philippine Islands Manila
b.) Panoramic view of La Quinta Market
c.) Bombed Hill 1700 “erupts” just before U.S. Infantrymen advance on Luzon 2-23-45
d.) River at Custom House, Manila
e.) San Miguel Brewery, Manila, Philippines
f.) Interisland Shipping on the Pasig River, Manila
g.) Zaragoza, Calle de Alfonso
h.) A86 Rotonda, Manila, Philippines
i.) A5 – The Escolta, the principal business street of Manila, Philippines
j.) Hotel Metropole
k.) Modern lift-bridge over Binondo

From the Don Benito J. Legarda, Jr. collection: Lot 520, A Set of Early 1900s Manila Views
a.) Binondo Church, Manila, Philippines, Photograph, B&W, Board, 7″ x 5″ (18 cm x 13 cm)
b.) Rosario Street looking north towards Binondo Church, Manila, Photograph, B&W, Board, 12.5 cm x 18 cm
c.) Binondo Church, Manila, Photograph, B&W, Board, 5″ x 7″ (13 cm x 18 cm)
d.) Escolta 2 [untitled] Manila, Photograph, B&W, Board, 5″ x 7″ (13 cm x 18 cm)

After the successful Bibliophiles and Explorers Auction last November, León Exchange 30 presents another curated selection from the significant trove of erudite collector Don Benito J. Legarda, Jr., as rare engravings, ephemera, prints by eminent Filipino artists Fernando Zobel and Anita Magsaysay-Ho, and hard-to-find photographs and prints of Old Manila in both peacetime and wartime, among others take center stage.

Lot 100, 1862 4 PESOS PHILIPPINE GOLD COIN, 6.5 grams, A well struck gold peso dated 1862 with hints of a pleasing orange toning and luster on the reverse. Far superior than normally encountered coins of the same year, with a great look. The coin has the bust of Queen Isabel II facing left and the Spanish coat of arms on the reverse. The coin has a weight of 6.5 grams and a diameter of 21mm.

Lot 101, 1788 ½ ESCUDO SPANISH GOLD COIN, 1.5 grams, An interesting Escudo gold coin with some wear on the obverse but a very well struck and nicely toned reverse. The coin has the bust of King Charles III facing right and the crowned oval shield in collar of the Golden Fleece on the reverse. The weight of the coin is 1.5 grams and has a diameter of 15mm.

Lot 102, A PAIR OF 1 PESO ISABEL GOLD JETONS (EX-JEWELRY), 1.4 grams each, Two interesting ex-jewelry Isabel jetons with the dates 1861 and 1864. Jetons were metal tokens or medals that were widely used and circulated in Europe that were used a substitute for currency. In the Philippines during the Spanish period, these jetons were used to commemorate or celebrate certain events or people. In the case of these this pair of 1 peso Gold Jetons, they both have the bust of the Spanish Philippine Queen Isable II which was similar to the gold coins that were minted and circulated in the 1860’s, such as the “Reina De Las Joyas, Filipinas.” Both jetons have the bust of Queen Isabel II facing left. The first is interesting given the bungled date of “1681” and the other has the date 1864. These jetons were typically made of 10k gold and were minted or made thin. The diameter on these two jetons were between 16-21mm.

Philippine gold coins from the Spanish colonial period: an 1862 4-Peso Philippine gold coin, a 1788 ½ Escudo Spanish gold coin, and a pair of 1-Peso Isabel Gold Jetons dating from 1861 and 1864 are sure to entice both new and long-time numismatists.

Lot 20, Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar, 18kt White Gold, Model: Nautilus, Reference number: Ref. 5740/1G-001, Movement: Automatic, Case material: White gold, Bracelet material: White gold, Year of production: 2022, Condition: Unworn (Mint condition, without signs of wear), 40mm 15kt White Gold Case, Fixed 18kt White Gold Bezel, Blue Sunburst Dial Featuring Moon Phases, Day, Date Month, Leap Year & 24-Hour Indication By Hands, Automatic Self-Winding Movement, On 18kt White Gold Bracelet, Complete With Original Box & Papers

Lot 19, Patek Philippe Nautilus, Model: Nautilus, Reference number: Ref. 5990/1G-001, Movement: Automatic, Case material: Steel Bracelet, Material: Steel, Year of production: 2016, Condition: Unworn (Immaculate condition, without signs of wear), Complete With Original Box & Papers

Not to be missed are two luxury watches for men: a Patek Philippe Nautilus and a Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar in 18-karat White Gold.

Lot 49, Cultured Pearl and Diamond Necklace, The necklace set in 14k white gold is designed with foliate motifs embellished by cultured pearls of approximately 10mm – 13mm and round diamonds of approximately 4.00 cts., Diamonds registered as PASS on the GIA iD100®, The necklace length is 16 inches, Weighs approximately 56.3 g., The piece is hallmarked 14kt Italy.

Lot 48, Double Strand Pearl Necklace, A 22-inch double strand pearl necklace in 14k YG., The necklace length is 22 inches, Weighs 96.1 g., The piece is hallmarked 14k.

Fine jewelry collection, exquisite silver pieces, well-preserved santos and relieves, well-crafted furniture, and elegant tableware are also on the block.

What to expect in two days of online auction!

Day 1 (January 20): “The Collector’s Vault” features watches, jewelry, drawings, paintings, prints, sculptures, and art collectibles

Day 2 (January 21): “Heiresses’ Homes and Tables” highlights heirloom furniture, religious art, silver, tableware, chinoiserie, ephemera, and various decors.

León Exchange 30th Online Auction will happen on January 20 and 21, Saturday and Sunday. Bidding will commence on the León Exchange platform at exactly 11 AM.

Catch a preview of these lots from January 13 to 19, Saturday to Friday, from 9 AM to 7 PM, at Warehouse 14, La Fuerza Compound, Don Chino Roces Avenue, Barangay San Lorenzo, Makati City.

To browse the León Exchange 30th Online Auction catalog, visit For further inquiries, email [email protected] or contact 8856 2781. All bidding will be online at For timely updates and relevant posts, follow León Exchange on Instagram @leonexchangeauctions.

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