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Rare Luna gypsy portrait topbills ‘Magnificent’ auction




JUAN Luna’s gypsy subject, “Una Chula.”

Outstanding artworks and historical paraphernalia once again form the spectacular lots at Leon Gallery’s upcoming Magnificent September Auction 2019 on 14 September at the Eurovilla I ground-floor showrooms at the corner of Rufino and Legazpi Streets, Legaspi Village, Makati, Metro Manila.

Headlining the lots is a rare portrait of a gypsy lady called “Una Chula” by Juan Luna. This vibrant portraiture represents Luna’s breaking from large academic and historical pieces to more personal and intimate works as he moves toward the more progressive faction of the Salon or the Dissident One. By randomly picking anonymous subjects, he was able to highlight the spontaneous and, therefore, unfinished qualities that divert from the finesse of formal portraiture.

Top-billing with Luna’s tantalizing portrait of a “pretty young lady” is Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo’s evocative mother-and-daughter painting “The Country Women.” This valuable work is exemplary not only because it once belonged to art patron Luis Araneta but more so, it was an important feature in Alfredo Roces’ scholarship on Hidalgo’s body of work.

These quintessential masterpieces are joined by a sextet of Fernando Amorsolo paintings spanning his illustrious career as a master of the Filipino psyche. Featured works by the first National Artist for the Visual Arts are “Barrio Fiesta/Untitled/Tinikling,” 1960; “Princess Urduja/Untitled,” 1945; “Farmer/Untitled,” 1945; “Lady with Banga,” 1940; “Portrait of A Girl/Untitled,” 1930 and “Sabungero,” 1929.

Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo’s “The Country Women.”

An interesting counterpoint is Andres Barrioquinto’s “Untitled” portrait of a contemporary lass. Posed formally and rendered in black and white like in standard portraits, the girl is surprisingly bedecked with an effusion of tropical blooms and butterflies characteristic of the contemporary painter’s trademark style.

Currently on a respite from doing commissioned portraits, Barrioquinto’s work is a piece de resistance for collectors who marvel at the hallucinatory balancing of good and evil in the auction star’s Zen-inspired stylized vintage hyperrealism.

Another contemporary master of stylized portraiture is Jason Montinola, whose “Silent Verse Against Trinity” is a haunting reimagining of a sepia portrait that has turned dramatically surreal.
Regarded as a master of deception, Montinola digs deep into the unconscious for his visual language to tie up and project the fixedness of the past to the otherworldliness of the future.

An effusion of tropical blooms bedeck Andres Barrioquintos’ portrait of a lass in “Untitled.”

National Artist for Visual Arts BenCab’s take on the connectivity of past and present is his “Untitled” depiction of a sepia peddler, which is a powerful metaphor for survival against poverty.
Recognized as one of the pioneers in realistic subject treatment, BenCab is known for his use not only of a perspective critical of class distinctions but also of old, brown and, therefore, nostalgic photographs that critique the present.

Dynamic oeuvres up for auction include Arturo Luz’s “Desert Moon, Rajasthan,” from his Cities of the Past Series; Mauro Malang Santos’ “Four Women” and “Untitled”; Romulo Galicano’s “Blue Mood” and “Morning at Monet’s Garden”; Romulo Olazo’s “Untitled” from his Untitled Series; and, Vicente Manansala’s “Nude.”

Currently on a respite from doing commissioned portraits, Barrioquinto’s work is a piece de resistance for collectors who marvel at the hallucinatory balancing of good and evil in the auction star’s Zen-inspired stylized vintage hyperrealism.

ONE of the two geometric sculptures by Eduardo Castrillo.

Then there are two exquisite geometric sculptures by Eduardo Castrillo, the artist behind the monuments of Bonifacio, Rajah Sulayman and the People Power in Metro Manila, who ushered in a renaissance in Philippine sculpture. These two paradoxically simple yet labyrinthine pieces wrought in iron represent the master sculptor’s control over the craft of blacksmithing and the art of sculpture.

Exuberant pieces by National Artists for the Visual Arts Abdulmari Imao, Ang Kiukok, Carlos “Botong” Francisco, Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, Jerry Elizalde Navarro, José Joya and H.R. Ocampo are showcased alongside works by masters Anita Magsaysay-Ho, Danilo Dalena, Fernando Zobel, Gus Albor, Jose Blanco, Juvenal Sanso, Lee Aguinaldo, Nena Saguil, Oscar Zalameda, Prudencio Lamarroza, Roberto Chabet, Romeo Tabuena and Santiago Bose.

Powerful works by internationally renowned best-sellers Buen Calubayan, Edwin Wilwayco, Emmanuel Garibay, Geraldine Javier, Jigger Cruz, Manuel Ocampo, Mark Justiniani, Ronald Ventura, Toti Cerda and Zean Cabangis also highlight this season’s fabulous auction.

The preview of The Magnificent September Auction 2018 will run from 7 to 13 September 2019, with cocktails on 11 September, and the live auction starting at 2 p.m. on 14 September. For more information, visit, call (+632) 856-2781 or email at