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From Delly Tambunting’s Manansala to Romulo’s Amorsolo: Celebrating 125 years of Philippine independence

Leon Gallery holds ‘The Spectacular Mid-year Auction’ that includes rare historic books

Lot 33, formerly in the Delly Tambunting Ongsiako collection, Vicente Manansala (1910 - 1988), 'Pounding Rice,' signed and dated 1973 (upper left), oil on canvas, 51" x 40" (130 cm x 102 cm)

Lot 57, from the Zita Feliciano collection,  Anita Magsaysay-Ho (1914 – 2012), ‘Women with Flowers’, signed and dated 1993 (lower right), oil on canvas, 34″ x 37 1/2″ (86 cm x 95 cm)

LOT 144, Antonio de Morga (1559 – 1636), Annotated by José Rizal (1861 – 1896), Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas, por el Doctor Antonio de Morga; Obra Publicada en Mejico en el Año de 1609, Nuevamente Sacada a Luz y Anotada por Jose Rizal, y Precedida de un Prologo del Prof. Fernando Blumentritt (Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas by Dr. Antonio de Morga; A Work Published in Mexico in the Year 1609, Brought to Light and Annotated by Jose Rizal with a Prologue by Prof. Fernando Blumentritt.), Libreria de Garnier Hermanos, Paris, 1890, First Edition, 8 3/4″ x 5 1/2″ (21 cm x 14 cm), depth: 1/2″ (1 cm)

Leon Gallery marks the 125th anniversary of the declaration of Philippine independence by presenting the finest in Philippine art in The Spectacular Mid-Year Auction on June 17, 2023, Saturday, at 2 pm.

“Milestones are always a cause for celebration—and none more so than the 125th year of our nation’s birth as we mark a momentous Glorious 12th of June this 2023,” writes Leon Gallery director Jaime Ponce de Leon in the catalogue foreword.

“In this year’s Spectacular Mid-Year Auction, we have thus sought to gather the very best of Filipino art to mark this watershed moment.”

The highlight of the sale is Vicente Manansala’s Pounding Rice (1973), a consummate example of his Transparent Cubism. The work is from the esteemed collection of Doña Hideliza “Delly” Tambunting-Ongsiako, the philanthropist behind various religious organizations and a passionate collector of the arts. She and her connoisseur friends—Judy Araneta-Roxas, Bessie Bautista-Legarda, and Aurora Silayan Go—became the good friends of Vicente Manansala, whom they met in the 1970s, and started collecting his paintings from then on. It was also Manansala who advised them to collect works by other equally renowned artists, such as Ang Kiukok, Anita Magsaysay-Ho, H.R. Ocampo, and Cesar Legaspi. Doña Delly was among the first founders of the Friends of Manansala.

Vicente Manansala with wife Hilda (left) and Doña Delly (right)

Doña Delly was the fourth child of Don Antonio Tambunting, who had inherited the Casa Agencia de Tambunting, and Doña Aurora “Nena” Paraiso, also a philanthropist who funded the construction of churches and donated 16 hectares of land in Muntinlupa, earning the gratitude of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Part of the proceeds from the sale of this work will benefit Doña Delly’s supported organizations: Leaven of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Oblate Apostle of the Two Hearts, and Alliance of the Holy Family International.

The highlight of this spectacular sale is Vicente Manansala’s Pounding Rice (1973), from the esteemed collection of Doña Hideliza ‘Delly’ Tambunting-Ongsiako

Another equally stunning highlight is Anita Magsaysay-Ho’s Women with Flowers (1993), made during her prolific Hong Kong years and from the collection of Zita Feliciano, a dear friend of the artist. The piece was Mrs. Feliciano’s “birthday gift” to herself, commissioning it from Magsaysay-Ho.

Mrs. Feliciano’s son, Ito, writes that Women with Flowers was his “mom’s piece de resistance” in the family living room, “which had an Amorsolo, a Sanso, Manansala, and Ocampo, all surrounding visitors to the heart of our home.”

Works deeply connected to our national hero Jose Rizal and his guiding light that inspired the country’s struggle for self-determination are among the most coveted lots in this sale. Of this, Ponce de Leon writes, “June is also always made memorable, thanks to the birth anniversary of our national hero Jose Rizal. Two works by Emmanuel “Manny” Garibay capture his heroism, as well as a rare copy of Rizal’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas by Antonio de Morga, one of his three books that spurred and defined our country’s identity. Maximo Viola, the man famous for rescuing Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere from oblivion by lending him the money to publish it, is represented through his collection of extraordinary ivory tableaux.”

Also worth mentioning is a monograph by the Spanish official Jose M. del Castillo y Jimenez titled El Katipunan o el Filibusterismo en Filipinas (The Katipunan or the Subversives in the Philippines), a compelling account narrating and detailing the origins and beginnings of the revolutionary society that led the armed struggle for independence.

LOT 14, Jose M. Del Castillo y Jimenez, ‘El Katipunan o el Filibusterismo en Filipinas: Cronica ilustrada con documentos, autografos y fotograbados’ (The Katipunan or the Subversives in the Philippines, Illustrated Chronicle with Documents, Manuscripts and Photogravures), Asilo del Huerfanos del S.C. de Jesus, Madrid, 1897 leatherbound, 396 pages, 7 1/2″ x 5″ (19 cm x 13 cm), depth: 1″ (3 cm)

Not to be missed is a stunning Letras y Figuras by the 19th-century artist Marcos y Ortega del Rosario, a rarity of its kind as it is among the few that bear the signature of its painter.

Jaime Ponce de Leon notes ‘a rare copy of Rizal’s “Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas” by Antonio de Morga, one of his three books that spurred and defined our country’s identity’

Filipino global artists take centerstage in this sale, proving time and again our creative zeal and virtuosity that catapulted us to international renown. This exceptional batch of works includes Jose Joya’s Talim Island (1966), from his golden years of the Venice Biennale; Fernando Zobel’s Marina (1974), an exemplary work showing the artist’s sublime transition into his now iconic and coveted Serie Blanca; Federico Aguilar-Alcuaz’s coveted opuses from his “Golden Period,” the Barcelona Series; Benedicto Cabrera’s entry to the 1969 Paris Biennale, Imaginary Portrait of Sabel II (1969); and Ronald Ventura’s Profile (2010), Home Screen (2010), Into the Woods 3 (2012), Cross Turismo (2014), and Hunter (2015), all of which have graced the pages of international publications.

Lot 121, from  the Don  J. Antonio Araneta collection, Jose Joya (1931 – 1995), ‘Talim Island II,’  signed and dated 1966 (verso), oil on wood, 32″ x 24″ (81 cm x 61 cm)

Lot 50, Fernando Zóbel (1924 – 1984), ‘Marina,’ signed and dated 1974 (lower right and verso); inscribed ’74-66 / Marina / Sevilla, 23 / Dec. 1974′ (verso), oil on canvas, 51 1/2″ x 51 1/2″ (131 cm x 131 cm)

Lot 123, From the Don J. Antonio Araneta collection, Federico Aguilar Alcuaz (1932 – 2011), ‘Barcelona Series,’ signed, inscribed Barcelona and dated 1964 (lower right), oil on canvas, 31 1/2″ x 24 1/2″ (80 cm x 62 cm)

Lot 63, From the Zita Feliciano collection, Benedicto Cabrera (b. 1942), ‘Imaginary Portrait of Sabel II,’ dated 1969 (verso), spray paint on wood, 24″ x 24″ (61 cm x 61 cm)

Lot 172, Ronald Ventura (b. 1973), Profile, signed and dated 2010 (lower right), mixed media, 72″ x 48″ x 11 1/2″ (183 cm x 122 cm x 29 cm)

Lot 47, Ronald Ventura (b. 1973), Home Screen, dated 2010, fiber glass/resin, polyurethane paint, 30 1/4″ x 51 3/4″ x 18 1/4″ (76 cm x 131 cm x 46 cm)

Lot 129, Ronald Ventura (b. 1973), Into The Woods 3, signed and dated 2012 (lower right), frottage, ink, acrylic, cast paper, shaped handmade paper and kozo paper on linen canvas, unframed: 96″ x 79″ (243 cm x 199.5 cm), framed (acrylic box): 97″ x 80″ x 9″ (246 cm x 202 cm x 23 cm)

Lot 152, Ronald Ventura (b. 1973), Cross Turismo, signed and dated 2014 (upper left), oil on canvas, 48″ x 72″ (122 cm x 183 cm)

Lot 100, Ronald Ventura (b. 1973), Hunter, signed and dated 2015 (lower left), mixed media and oil on canvas mounted on wood board, 84″ x 60″ (213 cm x 152 cm)

Passionate art collectors who are key to the continued flourishing of Filipino art headline this auction: Dr. Victor Reyes, pioneering Filipino neurosurgeon and friend to Filipino modernists, including H.R. Ocampo and Vicente Manansala; the statesman and diplomat Carlos P. Romulo; legal luminary J. Antonio Araneta; revolutionary hero Gen. Benito Natividad; and the Father of Philippine Healthcare, Dr. Roberto Macasaet, Sr., and his wife, Teresita Montinola.

Portrait of Don J. Antonio Araneta by Fernando Amorsolo (1892-1972)

Photograph of a portrait of General Benito Natividad approximately October, 1915

Dr. Wenceslao Pascual. Image courtesy of Rizal Provincial Government.

Dr. Victor Reyes and his wife, Edna

Dr. Roberto Macasaet and wife Teresita Montinola

Don Maximo Viola

Carlos P. Romulo as 4th United Nations General Assembly president

A rare Fernando Amorsolo moonlit scene, A Firelit Night with Musicians, from the collection of former Rizal Province Gov. Dr. Wenceslao Pascual, as well as one of the earliest documented works by the maestro that he made during his first year at the UP School of Fine Arts and a piece showing one of the earliest depictions of his favorite muse, the dalagang bukid, from Carlos P. Romulo’s collection, are not to be missed.

Lot 154, from  Dr. Wenceslao Pascual collection, Fernando Amorsolo (1892 – 1972), ‘A Firelit Night with Musicians’, signed and dated 1938 (lower left), oil on board, 16″ x 12″ (41 cm x 30 cm)

Lot 89, Fernando Amorsolo (1892 – 1972), ‘Dalagang Bukid (Woman with Banga)’, signed, inscribed Manila and dated 1929 (lower right), oil on wood, 16″ x 13 1/2″ (41 cm x 34 cm)

As part of its continued generosity, Leon Gallery partners with the MovEd (Molding Optimism and Values Thru Education) Group in raising funds for the organization’s mission of “providing free holistic and accessible early childhood education to underprivileged communities around the Philippines.” The late Justin “Tiny” Nuyda’s Painting the Sky (1985) is being sold to benefit the various charitable projects and initiatives of MovEd.

Lot 157, Justin Nuyda (1944 – 2022), Painting the Sky, signed and dated 1985 (lower left), oil on canvas, 24 1/8″ x 18 1/8″ (61 cm x 46 cm)

“We invite you once again to revel in the imagination of the Philippines’ greatest artists, tirelessly gathered by some of the country’s most seasoned collectors,” Ponce de Leon writes. “We assure you of a wonderful journey through our country’s art, and on behalf of Team León Gallery, I wish you all the best on this 125th year of the formation of our identity as a people.” – Adrian Maranan

Lot 135, Fernando Amorsolo (1892 – 1972), Dolmen de Grandmont (Languedoc), signed and dated Marzo 1910 (lower left), watercolor on paper, 7 3/4″ x 10 1/2″ (20 cm x 27 cm)

Lot 126, Marcos del Rosario Ortega (active 2nd half of the 19th century), George M. Curtis (Letras y Figuras), signed M. Ortega (lower right), dated 14 Junio 1877, watercolor on paper, 16″ x 21 1/2″ (41 cm x 54 cm)

Lot 122, PROPERTY FROM THE DON J. ANTONIO ARANETA COLLECTION, Juvenal Sansó (b. 1929), Window Shopping, signed and dated 1956 (lower right), oil on canvas, 24″ x 36″ (61 cm x 91 cm)

Lot 82, Emmanuel Garibay (b. 1962), Dakila, signed and dated 2012 (lower right), oil on canvas, 48″ x 48″ (122 cm x 122 cm)

Lot 81, Emmanuel Garibay (b. 1962), Bagumbayan, signed and dated 2010 (lower right), acrylic on handmade paper, 23 1/4″ x 18 1/2″ (59 cm x 47 cm)

Lot 73, PROPERTY FROM THE DR. AND MRS. ROBERTO MACASAET COLLECTION, Oscar Zalameda (1930 – 2010), Market Scene, signed (lower right), ca. 1960, oil on canvas 35″ x 35″ (89 cm x 89 cm)

PROPERTY FROM THE GEN. BENITO NATIVIDAD COLLECTION, Lot 20,  Guillermo Tolentino (1890 – 1976), A Country Scene, signed (lower right), ca. 1915, oil on canvas, 19 1/2″ x 25 1/4″ (49 cm x 64 cm)

Lot 13, PROPERTY FROM THE DR. AND MRS. VICTOR REYES COLLECTION, Vicente Manansala (1910 – 1988), Barong-Barong, signed and dated 1966 (lower left), oil on masonite board, 15 1/2″ x 28″ (39 cm x 71 cm)

Lot 150, Federico Aguilar Alcuaz (1932 – 2011), Night in Marantz, signed, inscribed Barcelona and dated 1961 (upper left), oil on wood, 55″ x 31″ (140 cm x 79 cm)

Lot 140, PROPERTY FROM THE DON MAXIMO VIOLA COLLECTION, a) San Jose y Niño Jesus, b) La Inmaculada Concepcion, Binondo, Manila and San Miguel de Mayumo, Bulacan, ivory, silver, velvet, baticuling wood, 1890s

Lot 139, from the Don Maximo Viola collection, Calvario, Binondo, Manila and San Miguel de Mayumo, Bulacan, 1890s, ivory, silver, velvet, silvergilt threads, baticuling wood, glass, enamels

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