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Manansala’s ‘Pounding Rice’ tops Leon Gallery’s latest auction at PhP40.8M

Works by Magsaysay-Ho, Ventura, and Olazo also go for record prices

Lot 33, formerly from 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), sold for PhP 40,880,000

Leon Gallery wrapped up the weekend with an impressive roster of 10 highest-selling lots, all surpassing the eight-figure sold price. It was groundbreaking, coming right after the celebration of the 125th anniversary of Philippine independence, proving the Filipino art lovers’ enduring homage to Filipino artists, a constant source of national pride across generations.

Leading the lineup was the auction’s top seller, Vicente Manansala’s Pounding Rice, which went for PhP40.8 million, becoming the most expensive Manansala painting sold in the Philippines—and second only in the world. The outcome drew applause from auction spectators, welcoming Manansala’s triumph in his bailiwick. Part of the proceeds will benefit the charitable institutions of Doña Delly Tambunting-Ongsiako, its former owner and Manansala’s good friend.

The undisputed “Queen of Auctions,” Anita Magsaysay-Ho, also won with Women with Flowers, whose selling price jumped to PhP 31.5 million. The piece forms part of the artist’s prolific 17-year Hong Kong period and was commissioned by Zita Feliciano, Anita’s dear friend, as a birthday gift to herself. Two other masterpieces by the sole female member of the revered “Thirteen Moderns” —Women with Chicks and the early work The Good Lifealso got impressive results of P16.3 million and P13.4 million, respectively.

Lot 57, from 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), sold for PhP 31,536,000

Lot 115, Anita Magsaysay-Ho (1914 – 2012), ‘Women with Chicks’, signed (lower left), dated 1985, oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″ (41 cm x 51 cm), sold for PhP 16,352,000

Lot 40, Anita Magsaysay-Ho (1914 – 2012), ‘The Good Life’, signed (lower right), ca. 1945, oil on wood, 10” x 14” (25 cm x 36 cm), sold for PhP 13,432,000

Filipino global artist Ronald Ventura had a thought-provoking take on the theatrical and sensationalist Holy Week practices in the Philippines in his piece titled Cross Turismo, selling for PhP25.7 million.

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), SOLD: PHP 25,696,000

There was much excitement in the room when Romulo Olazo’s Diaphanous B-XLIV—from his coveted Diaphanous Series—flashed on the screen. Multiple bids came until two phone bidders were left in a protracted effort to win the bid for Olazo’s largest paintings to go on the block, from his triumphant 1980s decade. The piece eventually sold for a record-breaking P25.1 million, setting a new benchmark for Olazo masterpieces.

Lot 111, Romulo Olazo (1934 – 2015), ‘Diaphanous B-XLIV’, signed and dated 1980 (lower center and verso), oil on canvas, 60″ x 84″ (152 cm x 213 cm), sold for: PhP 25,112,000

Heavyweights Fernando Zobel and Jose Joya commanded very impressive sums, with their respective masterpieces Marina and Talim Island II each going for P17.5 million.

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), sold for PhP 17,520,000

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), sold for: PhP 17,520,000

Zen maestro Lao Lianben smoothly earned P11.6 million with the enigmatic yet calming Harmony.

Lot 44, Lao Lianben (b. 1948), Harmony, signed (lower left and verso) and dated 2009 (verso), acrylic and pencil on canvas, 48″ x 72″ (122 cm x 183 cm), sold for PhP 11,680,000

Two phone bidders were left in a protracted effort to win the bid for one of Olazo’s largest paintings from the 1980s

Fernando Amorsolo’s Dalagang Bukid (Woman with Banga), from the collection of statesman Gen. Carlos P. Romulo, captured bidders with its idyllic and romantic portrait of a glorious past, going for P10.5 million.

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), sold for: PHP 10,512,000

Leon Gallery now has eight world records and one major Philippine record, the latest being the Diaphanous B-XLIV by Olazo and Pounding Rice by Manansala.

After four gavel strikes into the auction, Leon Gallery achieved its first world record of the day, with master abstractionist Augusto Albor’s Etherfield, from the collection of Grace Kalaw Katigbak, going beyond the P2-million mark at P2.4 million.

Lot 4, from the Grace Kalaw Katigbak collection,  Augusto Albor (b. 1948), Etherfield, signed and dated 1996 (upper right and verso), acrylic on canvas, 72″ x 72″ (183 cm x 183 cm), sold for PhP 2,336,000

Guillermo Tolentino’s A Country Scene sold for P4.6 million, a surge of 23x from its starting bid of P200,000. The piece broke the record for a work by Tolentino, be it in painting or sculpture, with its impeccable provenance; it was Tolentino’s wedding gift to the revolutionary hero Gen. Benito Natividad and his wife, Amalia Inocencio, the granddaughter of Maximo Inocencio, one of Cavite’s Thirteen Martyrs.

Lot 20, from the Gen. Benito Natividad collection, 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), sold for PHP 4,672,000

Juvenal Sanso’s Window Shopping, from the collection of legal luminary and erudite collector J. Antonio Araneta and part of the artist’s rare and sought-after Parisian “Black Period” of 1953–57, likewise exceeded expectations and barometers for the artist, raking in P8.7 million. It is also one of Sanso’s few works to feature humans, as the artist is recognized more for his surreal landscapes void of any human figuresto signify alienation and anguish.

Lot 122, 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), sold for PHP 8,760,000

Leading hyperrealist Mark Aran Reyes’ Sad Emitting Pancake fetched P9.9 million, while Isabel Diaz’s monumental Untitled masterpiece showcasing her favorite floral subjects bloomed at P3.3 million.

Lot 146, Marc Aran Reyes (b. 1996), Sad Emitting Pancake, signed and dated 2020 (lower left), oil on canvas, 84″ x 180″ (213 cm x 457 cm), sold for PhP 9,928,000

Lot 21, Isabel Diaz (b. 1943), Untitled, signed (lower right), oil on canvas, 68″ x 107″ (173 cm x 272 cm), sold for: PhP 3,270,000

Rounding off the weekend’s world records are an early work by Edwin Wilwayco titled David’s Column (PhP1.2 million) showcasing the influences of his former mentor Jose Joya, and forerunner of Philippine modern art Ramon Peralta’s Country Life (P934,000).  – Adrian Maranan

Lot 125, Edwin Wilwayco (b. 1952), David’s Column, signed and dated 1975 (upper left), oil on canvas, 37 1/2″ x 36 1/4″ (95 cm x 92 cm), sold for PhP 1,284,800

Lot 160, Ramon Peralta (1877 – 1940), Country Life, ca. 1900, oil on canvas, 27″ x 40″ (60 cm x 102 cm), sold for PhP 934,400

To view the complete auction results, visit Leon Gallery’s website at

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