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Art for Art: For Its Year-ender, Leon Gallery is Auctioning Off Several Important Works for the Benefit of The Met’s New Home

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Proceeds from these lots, which include those from superstar collectors, will go to “The M’s” BGC space.

Leon Gallery will be placing several important artworks under the hammer for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila in its Kingly Treasures Auction on December 4, 2021, at 2 P.M.

READ ALSO: Yeo Kaa On Why The Tortured Artist Trope Is Passé: ‘A Lot Of People Just Romanticize Pain’

Slated to reopen its new home in Bonifacio Global City, Metropolitan Museum of Manila has a governing philosophy of “art for all.” It strives to be an all-inclusive space where people from all walks of life can have a more intimate appreciation and understanding of the arts.

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Lot 18, Anita Magsaysay-Ho, “Fish Vendors”

“This new location materializes not only a change in architecture but also a vigorous rethinking of its collections, exhibitions, curatorial directions, and audience engagements,” says Joselito Campos, Jr., chairman of the Met’s Board of Trustees.

It is important to reach out to this new generation of museum-goers, Campos explains, as “they will provide a fresh take on our tangible heritage, interpreting it through their own unique lens inflected with the concerns and ambitions of their milieu.”

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From left: Lot 42, Hernando R. Ocampo, “Mutants – A”; Lot 87, Ang Kiukok, “Seated Figure”

Over the years, BGC has developed into a self-contained community that caters to financial and corporate needs as well as commercial and leisure wants.  

“[It] now becomes a cultural hub as well, not unlike the other cities of the world animated by the energies of their contemporary art museums,” Campos continues. “While the Met has long established its reputation as the foremost art space for international exhibitions, its location furthers its global identity within this new context, in light of a future informed by the somber lessons of a pandemic.” 

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Lot 47, Fernando Amorsolo, “A Terraced Farmland”

With its new home, The Metropolitan Museum of Manila is also rebranding itself as The M. The highly anticipated reopening is scheduled in the first quarter of 2022, in a 3,000-square-meter space. Spread across three levels, it is designed by Filipino-born and Brooklyn-based architect Carlos Arnaiz.

The M’s inauguration will feature Philippine modern and contemporary art surveys, international exchanges with its cultural partner institutions, retrospective exhibitions of National Artists for Visual Arts, and figures in contemporary art.

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Lot 88, Arturo Luz, “Six Cyclists”

Sharing space

“December is always a special month, not least of all because it is a time for sharing,” says Jaime L. Ponce de Leon, Leon Gallery director. “I would therefore like to invite you all to participate in a most worthy segment of the Kingly Treasures Auction to benefit the Metropolitan Museum of Manila.

Ponce de Leon shares that Paulino and Hetty Que, Mario and Mimi Que, and Manuel and Alice Que head the list of collectors who have entered artworks in the auction. They will donate the proceeds in full to the support of The M.

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From left: Lot 89, Jigger Cruz, “Taking Me To Itself”; Lot 90, Raffy Napay, “Trees”

Five artworks are to be auctioned for the benefit of The M. Leading the pack is “Seated Figure”by National Artist for Visual Arts Ang Kiukok. One of Kiukok’s most classic series, it is emblematic of his figurative works from the 1980s that showcases his exploration of Cubist-inspired aesthetics. 

Arturo Luz, a stalwart force of the Philippine Art Gallery and another National Artist for Visual Arts, encapsulates one of his favorite subjects in “Six Cyclists.” 

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Lot 95, Vicente Manansala, “Barrio Scene”

Three artworks in this group, dubbed as “The Collector’s Bounty,” are from the collection of the country’s most prominent art aficionados: Mario and Mimi Que, Manuel and Alice Que, and Paulino and Hetty Que.

In “Taking Me To Itself” (from Mario and Mimi Que), leading abstract expressionist Jigger Cruz traverses the concept of healing. Raffy Napay’s “Trees” (from Manuel and Alice Que) explores the innate relationship between humans and nature. Ang Kiukok’s “Table with Avocados” (from Paulino and Hetty Que) is a donation in full from the couple in support of The M. 

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Lot 130, Ronald Ventura, “Francism”

Auction favorites

Aside from its support to The M, Leon Gallery will also be highlighting important lots from celebrated Filipino masters representing different eras and generations in Philippine art history. 

The “Queen of Auctions,” Anita Magsaysay-Ho, returns for another possible record-breaking feat with “Fish Vendors.” According to Leon curator Lisa Guerrero Nakpil, it “is a work from the rare series first created in 1975 that introduces a single bare-headed woman among Magsaysay-Ho’s recognizable bevy of females wearing kerchiefs over their hair.”

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Lot 165, Felix Resureccion Hidalgo, “Horse Carriage”

The painting was acquired by renowned New York-trained surgeon Dr. Roberto Macasaet and his wife Teresita at a 1975 exhibition by Magsaysay-Ho at the Philippine Village Hotel near Nayong Pilipino. 

Any Leon auction, more so a year-ender auction, would not be complete without the presence of a Fernando Amorsolo piece. “A Terraced Farmland”and “Sunset Over the Stream,” from the collection of Doña Tarsila Laperal Mendoza are also up for bids.

Two works—“Burning of Manila” and“Town Fiesta”—both from the Don Anselmo Trinidad Collection depicts the juxtaposition and contradictions between wartime and peacetime in the Philippines.

These lots are open for viewing from November 27 to December 3 from 9 A.M. to 7 P.M., Saturday to Friday, at León Gallery, G/F Eurovilla 1, Rufino corner Legazpi Streets, Legaspi Village, Makati. For more information and to browse auction catalog, visit Leon-Gallery.com.

Banner: Lot 84, Fernando Amorsolo, “Under the Mango Tree”

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