Art/Style/Travel Diaries

Finer Pursuits auction features rare Anita Magsaysay-Ho

A book piece, the egg tempera painting is one of the most iconic works by the modern master

Anita Magsaysay-Ho’s very rare egg tempera on board (1953)

A rare painting by Anita Magsaysay-Ho will go on the block on June 15 at Salcedo Auctions’ “Finer Pursuits: Important Philippine Art & Rare Collectibles.”

The 1953 egg tempera, a medium sought after by her most discerning collectors for their extreme rarity, is a book piece that is emblematic of the artist’s cubist leanings and early preference for this technically challenging medium, before she shifted to oils.

Magsaysay-Ho depicts her subject staring softly into the distance while drawing her shawl around her, the jagged tendrils of African daisies in the background contrasting with her tender countenance. It is notably devoid of the signature bandanas of her women subjects, and not in her customary farm or market setting. This suggests that the figure is not to be seen simply as a portrait, but rather as a quintessential representation of the gracious and confident modern Filipino woman.

Victorio Edades’ ‘Bagobo Girl’ (1980, estimated at P1.8 to P2 million

Aside from the rare Magsaysay-Ho piece, there are masterpieces by other National Artists—Fernando Amorsolo’s 1949 Planting Rice with Mayon Volcano and a Golden Period boceto for a mural in the Philippine Pavilion at the 1937 Paris Exposition; Arturo Luz’s large-scale burlap piece; Ang Kiukok’s whimsical Cactus and Yellow Window; Carlos “Botong” Francisco’s Kuloban ni Rubin (once owned by the renowned collector Dr. Eleuterio “Teyet” Pascual); and Victorio Edades’ Bagobo Girl, which used to be displayed prominently in the artist’s home.

This auction also features the largest collection of works by Jose Joya to ever go under the gavel, including an oil painting titled Impulse published in the artist’s monograph, and Dragon Year, an auspicious 1988 acrylic collage.

Fernando Amorsolo’s ‘Planting Rice with Mayon Volcano’ (1949), estimated at P12 to P18 million

Also up for bidding are significant works by renowned Filipino abstract artists, among them a the expatriate Alfonso Ossorio’s Fat & Thin, a powerful mixed media “congregation,” formerly from the prestigious Daniel Cordier collection, Paris; Fernando Zobel’s Invierno en Sevilla IV; and Lee Aguinaldo’s Painting in Green No. 2, which boasts an interesting provenance. It is from the collection of celebrated Australian sociologist Prof. Ron Taft, who was introduced to Aguinaldo in Manila in the early 1960s by their mutual friend, Ken Rabin, a nephew of the great Mark Rothko.

Lee Aguinaldo’s ‘Painting in Green No. 2’ (1963), estimated at P3.5 to P4.5 million

Works by the country’s most critically acclaimed contemporary artists also figure prominently in this auction, including Rodel Tapaya’s Ten Heads, Mark Justiniani’s mixed media installation, both from a distinguished Asia-Pacific collection, and Jigger Cruz’s Blues with the Sense of a Metaphor, to name just a few.

As in previous marquee sales of the country’s premiere auction house, intricately carved colonial antique hardwood furniture and ecclesiastical art feature in this sale, among them an exquisite 1920’s Renaissance Revival credenza, a French Rococo style matrimonial bed, and an impressive 18th century Baroque pair of church retablo flanges in molave.

Presented with exclusive bank partner Metrobank, “The Finer Pursuits” live and online auction will take place on Saturday, 15 June 2024, starting at 2 pm. The online catalogue is available at In-person preview runs from Friday, 7 June to Friday, 14 June at NEX Tower, 6786 Ayala Avenue, Makati City, from 9 am to 6 pm daily (including Sunday, closed Monday). For inquiries, email [email protected] or phone tel. nos. (0917)107-5581, (917) 591-2191, (and 0917) 825-7449. For the latest updates, follow @salcedoauctions on Instagram and Facebook.

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