'Fruit Vendors' by Fernando Amorsolo, 1951, oil on canvas

Amorsolo’s own Eras Tour at Leon Gallery auction this Saturday

June 6, 2024
9:41AM PHT

In this Saturday's Spectacular Mid-Year Auction 2024, León Gallery opens its doors for treasure-seekers and connoisseurs alike in time to commemorate the country's hard-fought independence.

Happening this June 8, at 2 p.m., this sale offers within its pages the works of some of the most eminent artists throughout Philippine history, with none more distinguished than the first National Artist Fernando Amorsolo.

Revered as the “Grand Old Man of Philippine Art,” Amorsolo’s works are among the most coveted and collected. He was a prolific artist, with his illustrious six-decade-long career immortalized in several striking works going up for sale at this auction. With pieces originating from his beginnings as a student of the UP School of Fine Arts to his lush “Golden Period” to even his war years and beyond, León Gallery offers many ardent collectors an overview of the great artist’s oeuvre.

Among the many Amorsolo lots going on the block is a 1912 Nude, one of the artist’s earliest documented works. The sketch, created when the maestro was only 20 years old and still a UP School of Fine Arts student, is veritable proof of his mastery of human anatomy, a skill the university recognized when it awarded Amorsolo medals for the highest excellence in anatomy for the academic year 1909 to 1910.

'Niña con Lazo Azul' from 1919 was created during his brief but fruitful seven-month sojourn to Spain. Armed with a scholarship grant sponsored by Don Enrique Zobel, Amorsolo diligently pursued his studies with enthusiasm, and Niña con Lazo Azul displays his dexterity in portraiture and figure drawing.

However, by far, the most famous of his works originate from his “Golden Period” of the 1920s and 1930s. Water Carrier, painted in 1928, immortalizes Amorsolo at the peak of his career. His muse—the dalagang Filipina—is at the center of the composition, which is bathed with his now-revered lighting and palette. Water Carrier is the epitome of Amorsolo during his Golden Period, with his idyllic depiction of provincial life and his beloved dalaga becoming the image of the budding nation.

While he has a reputation for his inclination to the pastoral countryside, Amorsolo did not shy away from chronicling the horrors of the war he had experienced in the 1940s. Smoke over the Ocampo Pagoda Mansion (1944) was one of the works Amorsolo painted en plein air as he watched from his Morayta house, only a few streets away from the Japanese garrison. Here, he depicted the turbulence of the war through heavy impastos and quick strokes, a manifestation of his agitation at the horrors of the war and a rarity among Amorsolo’s Elysian oeuvre.

As the war drew to an end, Amorsolo returned to his idyllic subjects, marking his mellower years with a poignant nostalgia from his earlier works. Fruit Vendors (1951) features many Amorsolo classics. By then, his famed sunlight, his beloved dalaga, and the rural life had become synonymous with the great artist and a catch for any collector looking for a quintessential Amorsolo piece.

The Spectacular Mid-Year Auction celebrates the shared affinities and relationships that intertwined art and history throughout the years, and the works of Amorsolo offered in this sale revel in that. From his academic years to his mellower twilight years, León Gallery proudly provides not only an overview of the maestro’s illustrious career but also the relationships built around and with his oeuvre. Each piece in this auction provides intimate revelations from every period of Amorsolo’s career. -- Hannah Andrea Valiente for Leon Gallery

The Spectacular Mid-Year Auction will be held on June 8, 2024, at 2 PM at Eurovilla 1, Rufino corner Legazpi Streets, Legazpi Village, Makati City. Preview week is from June 1 to June 7, 2024, from 9 AM to 7 PM. For further inquiries, email info@leon-gallery.com or contact +632 8856-27-81. To browse the catalog, visit www.leon-gallery.com. Follow León Gallery on their social media pages for timely updates: Facebook - www.facebook.com/leongallerymakati and Instagram @leongallerymakati.

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