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Sold at Auction: Napoleon Veloso Abueva

Alias:Napoleon "Billy" V. AbuevaBilly Abueva


Napoleon "Billy" V. Abueva (January 26, 1930 – February 16, 2018) was known as the "Father of Modern Philippine Sculpture" Through Proclamation No. 1539, He was proclaimed National Artist for Sculpture in 1976 when he was 46, making him the youngest recipient of the award to date.

Billy Abueva, as he was fondly called, was born in Tagbilaran, Bohol to Teodoro Lloren Abueva, a Bohol congressman and Purificacion Gonzalez Veloso, president of the Women's Auxiliary Service. Abueva had six other brothers and sisters: Teodoro Jr., Purificacion, Jose, Amelia Martinez, Teresita Floro, and Antonio. Born Esabelio Veloso Abueva, he was named after the younger sister of his paternal grandmother, Isabel.

He assumed the name Napoleon at the age of six, when as a student at the St. Joseph Academy in Tagbilaran, one of the nuns first called him Napoleon after Napoleon Bonaparte. The name stuck, and ever since, Abueva referenced the quote from Napoleon: "If I weren't a conqueror, I would wish to be a sculptor."

Abueva graduated in high school at the Rafael Palma College (now the University of Bohol) in 1949. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture at the UP School of Fine Arts (now UP College of Fine Arts/UPCFA) in 1953 as one of the second batch of Fine Arts students who moved from the old campus in Padre Faura to Diliman. He was mentored by fellow National Artist for Sculpture Guillermo Tolentino.

Through scholarship grants, he was able to pursue advanced studies abroad including one from Harvard University.
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