7 world records, 1 PH record smashed in León auction 2
Detail of Vicente Manansala’s “Pounding Rice”. Image courtesy of Leon Gallery

7 world records and 1 Philippine record smashed in latest León Gallery auction

At last weekend’s Spectacular Midyear Auction, Manansala’s “Pounding Rice” set the mark for the artist’s record in his home turf
EA Sta. Maria | Jun 19 2023

León Gallery smashed and set records once again at its recent Spectacular Mid-Year Auction over the past weekend.

Mid-century modern as well as millennium art held their own in an art world brimming with excitement over the unveiling of Juan Luna’s long-lost masterpiece, Hymen, oh Hymenee, at the Ayala Museum — which, not surprisingly, is another León Gallery accomplishment.

Manansala’s “Pounding Rice” at P41 Million was the Philippines’ priciest Manansala, but also the second highest benchmark for the artist worldwide
Manansala’s “Pounding Rice” at P41 Million was the Philippines’ priciest Manansala, but also the second highest benchmark for the artist worldwide

But back to the auction results: The Manansala opus, titled “Pounding Rice”, from the Tambunting-Ongsiako collection, set the mark for the artist’s record in the Philippines. (It was the second most expensive Manansala sold at auction in the world; but the no. 1 painting in the country at a cool P41 Million. (This sum includes the buyer’s premium.)

The modernists did remarkably too. Which led León Gallery director Jaime Ponce de Leon to remark, “The mid-level market showed very strong results. For example, a pair of Ang Kiukok fishes went way over the usual P1 Million a square foot for this master.”

Guillermo Tolentino’s rare “Country Scene”
Guillermo Tolentino’s rare “Country Scene” set a record for the national artist across canvas and stone.

“In fact,” he went on to explain, “The 1960s Zalamedas did exceedingly well, including a work on paper of sailboats on the French Riviera that sold for more than a million.” Jose Joya’s various works — including the superb “Talim Island II” from the J. Antonio Araneta collection reaped almost P18 Million. Works by Malang Santos performed none too shabbily. A tri-colored work called “City Vendor” hit P7Million.

The other big story of the sale was the stupendous world record set by Romulo Olazo with a magical coral-hued Diaphanous that breached P25 Million and all previous benchmarks set globally.
Guillermo Tolentino’s “A Country Scene” — a very rare oil painting — surprised the crowd as it soared from an opening bid of P200,000 to roost at almost P5Million, setting a world record for the artist in all categories of both canvas and sculpture works.

Sanso’s “Window Shopping”
Sanso’s “Window Shopping” cemented the reign of his early works with a record-setting P8.8Million

The very first world record was set very early in the day by Gus Albor, followed quickly by Isabel Diaz, Edwin Wilwayco, and the venerable early 20th-century artist Ramon Peralta. Juvenal Sanso’s 1956 work called “Window Shopping” established the reign of the artist’s early works at another world-record bashing P8.8 MIllion.

Fernando Amorsolos were met with enthusiasm across the board, including rarities from Gen. Carlos P. Romulo, a moonlit ‘harana’ scene’ and a post-war celebration of home and hearth.

Bernardo Pacquing stayed on course, noted Ponce de Leon, in “an upward trajectory”, mirroring the action for “older Justinianis and Rodel Tapaya.”

All in all, it was another fulfilling day in Filipino art auction history as the market declared its continued fascination for Philippine talent.

[The Spectacular Midyear Auction was co-presented by ANCX. For more information on the auction, visit the León Gallery website by clicking on this link.]

Images courtesy of Leon Gallery