Botong sells 1966 painting for 35-M at Leon auction

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Culture

At the just-completed Leon auction, the muralist led a series of ceiling-breaking sales – for Edades, Orlina, Pacita Abad and Jigger Cruz

ANCX Staff | June 12, 2022

There was much symbolism in the art world in a weekend marked by the announcement of new National Artists Awards and the commemoration of our Independence Day. But it seems that the main arbiter of Filipino art remains – not the committees made up of academics or even museum tologists – but the hardy and enterprising species known as the Filipino collector. And its natural habitat is the León Gallery, which held its latest Spectacular Mid-Year Auction yesterday.

Here are 10 fascinating facts about this momentous occasion:

Moriones Festival by Carlos V Francisco

1) The star of the auction was Carlos V Francisco’s poignant but powerful ‘Moriones Festival’, which rose to P35 million. This was the third highest amount paid for a botong at auction, according to Jaime Ponce de Leon, director of the León Gallery. (Three of the 4 best prizes of all time were achieved in the León gallery.)

Poinsettia Girl by Victorio Edades
Poinsettia Girl by Victorio Edades

2) Women in Red sizzled. Victorio Edades’ “Poinsettia Girl” fetched 23 million pesos (that’s the hammer price plus buyer’s premium). In one fell swoop, said Ponce de Leon, “Poinsettia Girl” set a world record for this otherwise underrated of our Filipino national artists. Notwithstanding his title as the father of Filipino modern art, Ponce de Leon said. It was Edades who first brought the idea of ​​non-academic art to the country.

An archaic Hagabi from Kiangan, Ifugao.  Ramon Tapales
An archaic Hagabi from Kiangan, Ifugao. Ramon Tapales

3) The Hagabi is eternal. This once little-known object of Ifugao refinement went into the León Gallery in 2021 for 22 million pesos as the world’s most expensive piece of Filipino tribal art. A second “prestige bank” was auctioned this weekend for 20 million pesos, fueled by a three-tier provenance that includes all the major collectors of tribal antiquities of the last century.

“Torso” by Ramon Orlina

4) Another world record was set by Ramon Orlina’s glass masterpiece Torso, which rose to P7 million. “It was the perfect storm to be a big piece — at 21 inches tall — and with a lineage stemming from visionary collector Don Geny Lopez,” said Ponce de Leon. “Both played a big part in reaching that number.”

Analogy” (B) by Hernando R. Ocampo
Analogy” (B) by Hernando R. Ocampo

Hat Weaver by Hernando R. Ocampo
Hat Weaver by Hernando R. Ocampo

5) Don Geny’s magic touch raised a total of 20.5 million pesos for two HR Ocampos, from both ends of the artist’s colorful career, from his proletarian days to his appointment as Prince of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Tevan Galano by Pacita Abad
Tevan Galano by Pacita Abad

6) Pacita Abad’s “Tevan Galano” from her Batanes series set another world record for the artist with P9.3 million. “There are fewer than a dozen Filipino scenes from Pacita,” Ponce de Leon explained, “so this was a work of great rarity.”

Jigger Cruz's
Blissful Thrones in the Tune of a Lazy Afternoon by Jigger Cruz

7) Jigger Cruz’s “Blissful Thrones in the Tune of a Lazy Afternoon” jubilantly jumped to almost 12 million pesos. This was another world record, said our gallery director, buoyed by his New York show record – and his recording of Jigger’s personal story, which is a snapshot of his bedroom.

Madonna No. 2 by Vicente Manansala.
Madonna No. 2 by Vicente Manansala.

8) It was a very good day for mid-century moderns: “Madonna No.

Sabungero by Fernando Amorsolo
Sabungero by Fernando Amorsolo

9) The oldest cupid solo “Sabungero” from 1914 took home P10.5 million.

Nuestra Señora Del Santisimo Rosario en la Yglesia de Santo Domingo from Laureano Atlas
Nuestra Señora Del Santisimo Rosario en la Yglesia de Santo Domingo from Laureano Atlas

10) The oldest artwork auctioned was an engraving of the enigmatic Laureano Atlas of the Wonderful Lady of La Naval, which fetched 2.2 million pesos.

Photos courtesy of Leon Gallery

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