Her background and relationships with figures from the art world make this insider’s picks a richer, more informed guide to next weekend’s bidding wars
ANCX Staff | 04 June 2022
“A work of art has to appeal to you on both an intellectual and an emotional level,” says Jeannie Javelosa, curator of the Yuchengco Museum for many years, when asked what she looks for in a work of art.
A chronicler of the art scene since the early 1990s, writing for newspapers and various book projects, and collaborating with cultural institutions such as the CCP and the NCCA, the writer can’t help but take into account other considerations when we asked to her top 5 favorites from the upcoming Leon Gallery Spectacular Midyear Auction. Does it come from a pivotal period in an artist’s career? Is it made of material that is not often found in an artist’s repertoire, making it a lot more rare and special?
That makes Javelosa a great addition to our circle of tastemakers for the June 11 auction. Her insider background and relationships with figures from the art world make her picks below a richer, more informed guide if you’re looking to bid on your first or ninth piece of art this weekend.
Lot 5 “Relativity” by Ed Castrillo
Signed and dated 2013; pig iron (black iron); 19″ x 21″ x 19″ (48cm x 53cm x 48cm)
“First, it’s quite difficult to find a Castrillo in another metal, as he often uses brass. when he goes away [from the usual] the use of materials like this pig iron, or acrylic, or plexiglass in his early pieces, or silver and gold in jewelry, that becomes unique. Two: he is a monument man, which is why many of his small pieces are hard to find. Three: He is a good friend through life. I have been involved in the project management of his book. It’s also one of those pieces that you can set up any way you want; if you’re bored with one corner, just move it and change it. †
Lot 18 “Moriones Festival” by Carlos “Botong” Francisco
Signed and dated 1966 (top left); oil on canvas; 48″ x 34″ (122cm x 86cm)
“When I was working at the CCP, I was on top of an entire retrospective of Botong, so I really delved into his life and the beauty of his works as a muralist. He was known for the most sensual linearity in his compositions. I like the “Moriones Festival” because it has the sense of playfulness to its coloring and yet it is our tradition and there is a heaviness about the painting. I like the lyricism of Botong. I really like his work.”
Lot 136 “Black Saturday” and 21 “Different Tunes” by Emmanuel “Manny” Garibay
“These show two different angles of his life. I knew Manny when we worked at the Malacañang Museum, my very first job after high school and he sat under me. He wasn’t even painting at the time. I know how intense he can be, how passionate he can be. I have looked at his paintings and career over the years precisely because he was a friend. He worked under me before entering the fine art world.
“I like this ‘Black Saturday’ because it’s very sweltering – that really was Manny when he started. It has its sense of parang El Grecoish intensity, which was later turned into works like ‘Different Tunes’ in which his social issues become more lyrical and enjoyable, but still have the feeling of imposing a social problem. You can see a sense of sophistication in these two pieces.”
Lot 129 Estudio-Blanco (White Studio) by Fernando Zóbel
Signed (lower right); signed, titled, numbered 72-38 and dated Junio 1972 (verso); oil on canvas; 24″ x 24″ (61cm x 61cm)
“When I graduated high school, art critic Rod Paras Perez took me under his wing and taught me how to create and publish books through this book project about Fernando Zobel. This is how I got to know the works of Zobel and the refinement of his Saeta series, from the materiality to the spirituality, the clarity of the light. I like his works. (‘Estudio-Blanco’]is a piece in the catalog that shows his style at its most minimalistic but with the most depth.”
Lot 135 Pre-colonial gold mask from Butuan/Surigao
22k gold mounted on 420 gram sterling silver chain mail; with sterling silver frame, solid balayong base; 221/2″ x 71/2″ x 12″ (57cm x 19cm x 30cm)
“(I chose this because) it is related to my work as a curator. When the Philippines had the Festival of Arts and Culture in Paris, I coordinated all the museum collections and exhibitions. I took care of the curators who came to Manila to see what we could exhibit in the Musee Histoire Naturelle and all the different spaces. And the Butuan pieces that we showed, the precolonial gold that we brought together from the collection of the Central Bank and other collectors, were fantastic. Our pre-colonial gold showcase that we displayed there was as good as Peruvian gold.”
[Leon Gallery’s Spectacular Mid-Year Auction 2022 is happening this June 11 at 2PM. Co-presented by ANCX, the auction gathers a staggering 142 lots made up of art from Filipino masters and contemporary artists, as well as precious antiques. To browse what’s in store, visit the Leon Gallery website by clicking on this link.]
Photos courtesy of Leon Gallery