Art/Style/Travel Diaries

Manansala’s monochromatic masterpiece banners Leon Gallery’s auction

Sold for PhP22.8M, it was followed by Amorsolo, H.R. Ocampo, Joya, and 19th century furniture

From the Don J, Antonio Araneta collection, Vicente Manansala (1910 - 1988), 'Two Women, Banff,' signed and dated 1948 (upper left), oil on canvas, 11 1/2" x 15 1/2" (30 cm x 39 cm), sold PhP 1,922,560

Leon Gallery’s The Spectacular Mid-Year Auction last Saturday yielded stellar results for Philippine art, just in time for the celebration of the 126th anniversary of Philippine independence.

From the Don J. Antonio Araneta collection, Vicente Manansala (1910 – 1988), ‘Two Women, Banff,’ signed and dated 1948 (upper left), oil on canvas, 11 1/2″ x 15 1/2″ (30 cm x 39 cm), sold PhP 1,922,560

 The auction’s highlight, Vicente Manansala’s Fruit Vendors, from his artistic peak in the 1970s and from the collection of his dear friend and doctor, Dr. Jose San Gabriel, bannered the sale at  P22.8 million (inclusive of buyer’s premium)—indeed a monochromatic magnum opus by Manansala. The earliest cubist masterpiece by the revered Neo-Realist, Two Women, Banff, from Don J. Antonio Araneta’s collection, and painted by Manansala in 1949 during his felicitous journey to the Canadian Rockies on a Unesco grant, sold for P1.9 million.

Formerly from Tito and Elvira Manahan collection  H. R. Ocampo (1911 – 1978), ‘Sonata in Green,’ signed and dated 1969 (lower right), oil on canvas, 30″ x 40″ (76 cm x 102 cm), sold PhP 26,435,200

H. R. Ocampo (1911 – 1978), ‘Good Friday In Caloocan,’ signed and dated 1978 (lower right), acrylic on canvas, 30″ x 40″ (76 cm x 102 cm), sold: PhP7,209,600

Going for PhP26.4M was by another pioneering Neo-Realist, Hernando R. Ocampo’s Sonata in Green, formerly in the collection of society A-listers Dr. Tito and Elvira Manahan and painted by the artist during the prime years of his much-coveted “Visual Melody Period.”

Meanwhile, Good Friday in Caloocan, one of Ocampo’s last works and his ode to his beloved hometown of Maypajo, Caloocan, brought in P7.2 million.

From private collection, Jose Joya (1931 – 1995), ‘Morning Mist, Hangchow,’ signed and dated 1973 (lower right and verso), oil on wood panel, 48″ x 64″ (122 cm x 163 cm), sold PhP 21,628,800

Ang Kiukok (1931-2005), ‘Doors,’ signed and dated 1983 (upper left), oil on canvas, 45″ x 35″ (114 cm x 89 cm), sold PhP 14,419,200

From collection of distinguished gentleman, Federico Aguilar Alcuaz (1932 – 2011), ‘Blues in the Night,’ dated 1972, tapestry, No. 11008, 56″ x 74″ (143 cm x 187 cm), sold PhP 2,283,040

The second-generation Modernists solidified their hold on the market. Jose Joya’s Morning Mist, Hangchow, from his landmark 1973 Luz Gallery exhibit, went for P 21.6 million. Ang Kiukok’s Doors, from his “Golden Period” of the 1980s, sold at P14.4 million. An elegant image of pure abstraction that is Federico Aguilar Alcuaz’s 1972 tapestry, Blues in the Night, from a highly acclaimed exhibit in 1973 of the artist’s tapestries in the Netherlands, went for P2.28 million.

Fernando Amorsolo (1892 – 1972), ‘Water Carrier,’ signed and dated 1928 (lower right), oil on canvas, 16″ x 13″ (41 cm x 33 cm), sold: PhP 11,415,200

Fernando Amorsolo (1892 – 1972), ‘Fruit Vendors,’ signed and dated 1951 (lower right), oil on canvas, 24″ x 34″ (61 cm x 86 cm), sold: PhP 13,818,400,

From private collection, Fernando Amorsolo (1892 – 1972), ‘Smoke over the Ocampo Pagoda Mansion,’ signed, dated 1944 and inscribed “Manila Sept 22 1944, 9:30 am” (lower right), oil on wood, 10″ x 14 1/2″ (25 cm x 37 cm), sold PhP 2,283,040

The landmark offering of Fernando Amorsolo’s works representing all periods of his prolific six-decade career was a standout in the auction—starting with the 1928 masterwork Water Carrier, depicting Amorsolo’s enduring image of the dalagang Pilipina. The painting, reflecting Amorsolo’s influence and dominance of the Philippine art scene in the 1920s, fetched P 11.4 million. Other notable highlights include Fruit Vendors, which went for P13.8 million, and a plein air war-time piece titled Smoke over the Ocampo Pagoda Mansion, for P2.28 million.

Félix Resurrección Hidalgo (1855 – 1913), ‘Landscape’, signed, dated 1898 and inscribed “A mi amigo, R. Ramirez” (lower left), oil on canvas, 14″ x 18″ (36 cm x 46 cm), sold PhP 3,364,480

Félix Resurrección Hidalgo (1855 – 1913), ‘Seascape,’ signed, dated 1909 and inscribed “A mi amigo, R. Ramirez” (lower left), oil on canvas, 11 3/4″ x 18 3/4″ (30 cm x 48 cm), sold PhP 3,364,480

Justiniano Asunción (1816 – 1901), ‘Tipos del Pais (People of the Country) Studies of the People of Manila, Philippines, ‘1846, watercolour heightened with white, gold and gum arabic on paper, 9″ x 13 3/4″ (23 cm x 35 cm) each, sold PhP 6,008,000

Masterpieces of the 19th century also commanded impressive sums. Felix Resureccion Hidalgo’s Landscape and Seascape, both gifted by the artist to his fellow ilustrado and patriot Ramon Ramirez, sold for P3.36 million each. Justiniano Asuncion’s set of 11 Tipos del Pais hit the P6 million mark.

Felix Resureccion Hidalgo’s ‘Landscape’ and ‘Seascape,’ both gifted by the artist to his fellow ‘ilustrado’ and patriot Ramon Ramirez, fetched P3.36 million each

From the Mark Wilson and Elsa Divinagracia collection,  An Ilocos Bed, 19th century, narra, height: 97” (246 cm), width: 61″ (155 cm), length: 88 1/2” (225 cm), sold: PhP 480,640

From the Mark Wilson and Elsa Divinagracia collection, Lao Lianben (b. 1948), Untitled, signed and dated 1988 (lower left), mixed media on paper, 42 1/2″ x 30 3/4″ (107 cm x 78 cm), sold PhP 2,883,840

Mark Wilson and Elsa Divinagracia parted with their precious collection, now in new homes—their 19th-century Ilocos Bed fetched P480,640, five times its starting price. Lao Lianben’s calming image of a Zen circle sold at P2.88 million.

From the Drr. Leovino Ma. Garcia collection, Lao Lianben (b. 1948), Untitled, signed and dated 1981 (lower left), acrylic, rice paper on canvas, 72″ x 36″ (183 cm x 92 cm), sold PhP 12,016,000

Lao Lianben (b. 1948), ‘Landscape,’ signed and dated 1974 (lower right and verso), oil on wood panel, 48 1/4″ x 49 1/4″ (123 cm x 125 cm), sold PhP 10,213,600

Lao Lianben’s monumental 1981 piece from the collection of Dr. Leovino Ma. Garcia had an impressive market value of P12 million. Also remarkable is the outstanding sale of an early Lao painting that pays homage to the Filipino masters of abstraction. Landscape, which Lao painted in 1974, just two years after he graduated from the University of the East, went for P10.2 million.

From distinguished private collector, LOT 75, The “Batangas Dos” Mesa Altar, first half of the 19th century (1800–50), balayong wood (“Afzelia rhomboideia”), 34 1/2″ x 26″ x 47 1/2″ (88 cm x 66 cm x 121 cm), sold PhP 3,364,480

From the Agoncillo family of Batangas, LOT 77, A Batangas Mesa Altar, second quarter of the nineteenth century (1825–50), (“Olympic” in antique dealers’ parlance), “Tindalo” wood (“Afzelia rhomboideia”), height: 39″ (99 cm), width: 54″ (137 cm), length: 25″ (64 cm), sold PhP  1,201,600

Batangueño craftsmanship drew strong demand with the sale of two Batangas Mesa altars. The first, a Batangas Dos Mesa Altar, was sold at P3.36 million,  another, from the collection of the prominent Agoncillo family of Batangas, fetched P1.2 million.

San Jose Peregrino (Saint Joseph The Pilgrim), mid–18 century (1750s),
Ivory: height: 18 1/4″ (46 cm), length: 6 1/2″ (17 cm), width: 4 1/4″ (11 cm)
with base: height: 24 1/4″ (62 cm), length: 9 1/2″ (24 cm), width: 8 1/4″ (21 cm)
sold PhP 2,643,520

Leading the ecclesiastical art section sales was a regal mid-18th century image of San Jose Peregrino in ivory that fetched P2.6 million.

Pongbayog (b.1982), Share The Love, signed and dated 2024 (lower left), oil on canvas, 84″ x 60″ (213 cm x 152 cm), sold PhP 2,403,200 – a world record for the artist

Arnold Lalongisip (b. 1987), Fortune’s Nest, dated 2024, acrylic on canvas, 84″ x 60″ (214 cm x 152 cm), sold for PhP 2,643,520—world record for the artist

World records were achieved for rising auction stars Pongbayog and Arnold Lalongisip and their exquisite monochromatic masterpieces. Pongbayog’s Share the Love, which reflects his hopeful yearning for respect and compassion towards one’s family and other people, went for  P2.4 million, Lalongisip’s Fortune’s Nest for P2.6 million.

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