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Lot 113: Vicente Manansala (1910 - 1988) - Two Women, Banff

Est: ₱1,000,000 PHP - ₱1,300,000 PHPSold:
Leon GalleryJune 08, 2024Makati City, Philippines

Item Overview

Description

PROPERTY FROM THE DON J. ANTONIO ARANETA COLLECTION
Two Women, Banff
signed and dated 1948 (upper left)
oil on canvas
11 1/2" x 15 1/2" (30 cm x 39 cm)






Manansala’s First Brush With Cubism: A Felicitous Encounter in the Canadian Rockies By the time the Philippines ushered into the 1940s, Vicente Manansala was still finding his creative footing. Although by then among the legendary “Thirteen Moderns,” Manansala found painting to be a mere “skillful transposition of reality on a piece of paper or canvas,” as Rod. Paras-Perez puts it in his book Manansala. At that time, Manansala had been working as an illustrator for the Herald. In the years immediately after the Second World War, Manansala, who had been living in the slums of Reina Regente in Binondo, joined the nascent Art Association of the Philippines, founded on 15 February 1948 by its matriarch, Purita Kalaw-Ledesma. Manansala would become active in the organization, joining its “First National Art Exhibition” on 3 July 1948 and eventually bagging the 3rd prize for his oil on canvas work “Banaklaut (Boatmen),” following the respective 1st and 2nd prizes nods of Botong Francisco for “Kaingin” and Demetrio Diego for “Capas.” The AAP would also bestow Manansala an honorable mention for “I Believe in God.” Manansala would find artistic inspiration from Botong. In Cid Reyes’ “Conversations on Philippine Art,” Manansala says he has deep admiration and high regard for the Angono master’s virtuoso. He would then admit that Botong’s influence on his early works spilled onto his style and even to the point of capturing the master’s artistic feeling: folk, solemn, and possessing delicate elegance and rhythm. Manansala even shared that he mistakenly attributed his own 1948 work “I Believe in God” (now displayed in the National Museum) to Botong’s when he saw it in “The Manila Times” one day in April 1971. In June 1949, Manansala, who had been working as a staff artist for Ramon Roces Publications and the “Evening News,” won a sixmonth UNESCO Art Fellowship to Canada through the Canadian Council for Reconstruction, a fellowship program for artists from war-ravaged countries. Manansala’s win came as a result of his triumphs at the AAP and at a 1949 art competition organized by the Philippine National Red Cross, in which his design of the Red Cross as a lifesaver landed the second prize and was subsequently reproduced on two million copies of 4-plus-4 denomination semipostal Red Cross stamps. With his major feat, the AAP honored Manansala with a banquet at the Selecta Restaurant along Dewey (Roxas) Boulevard on June 18 and left for Canada the following day. Manansala, notes Roces, was the sole Filipino painter to be awarded the grant and was to enroll at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Banff located in Alberta, 4,500 feet high up on the Canadian Rockies. Manansala’s grant included free passage, a monthly allowance of $180, and $300 for traveling expenses. Owing to its idyllic environment, the arts center and leisurely capital that is Banff possessed a stimulating atmosphere for honing one’s virtuoso; students and artists loved Banff for the creative liberty it endowed them. Manansala first studied under an instructor with whom he would have disputes. Roces succinctly narrates, “An instructor with academic inclinations saw one of Manansala’s first classroom works and noted that the painting would be all right if the colors were changed. Manansala thought otherwise. He was convinced that color was what lent individually to a painting. His retort was brief: “I’ll change you first before I’ll change my colors!”” Eventually, Manansala moved to Joseph “Joe” Plaskett’s class. Manansala and Plaskett would quickly form a brotherhood built on creative camaraderie. (They even shared the same dorm room!) Manansala would join Plaskett on trekking and hiking excursions to hilltops, cliffs, and riverbanks overlooking the breathtaking Canadian Rockies to sketch landscapes. In one of those leisurely excursions (or even on Plaskett’s after-class sessions), the Canadian mentor-artist would formally introduce Manansala to the tenets of Cubism. Manansala would shed his Botong impulses and take on the road less traveled by his fellow artists in the motherland. Roces writes, “Plaskett showed Manansala a portrait fragmented into strips, which he was working on. Explaining that painting was primarily a question of manipulating space, Plaskett shifted the strips around, creating in the process an intensely active planar surface, a surface where each shape appeared to push or pull other shapes.” Although he worked mainly in a Post-Impressionist and Abstract Expressionist visual language, Plaskett possessed an affinity with Cubism. He once said, “Cubism came about because, in the process of analyzing form, something that lay in the form, a plane could be lifted out to float on its own.” Like a visionary reveling in the peace and quiet of Banff, Manansala saw the dawn of ingenuity with Plaskett’s artistic guidance. Manansala would take inspiration from this process, resulting in works that would become his first serious foray into Cubism, including this 1949 work at hand titled Two Women, Banff—the earliest Manansala cubist masterpiece to be offered at auction. The work depicts two women inspired by Manansala’s female classmates/acquaintances at Banff. They are shown in the height of their wonder, awe, and heedfulness, probably in sketching a sweeping vista of the picturesque Canadian Rockies or keenly listening to a mentor’s lectures. Manansala likely produced this work in one of his laidback periods of serenity and spontaneity. Did Manansala paint this in one of his painting classes? In an impromptu painting session at Banff’s great outdoors with his classmates as a form of creative relaxation? Or even in the quietude of his room while being guided by Plaskett? The answer’s left to the viewer’s fancy. In this painting, we see broad and overlapping planes of geometric forms, which are emphasized by a muted palette. Manansala endows the space with a delicate tension emphasized through the shunning of depth, effectively merging the foreground and background and resulting in solidity and flatness outlining the abstracted images of two women. Much like his Botong-inspired works, Manansala employs desaturated colors. Before his Canadian sojourn, Manansala’s works had already exhibited Cubistic tendencies, albeit muted, as evidenced by the blocky nature of his Botong-inspired works. But Manansala’s study grant to Canada would act as a light to find his own virtuoso, culminating in his career-defining Transparent Cubism, his shining legacy to Filipino art. (Adrian Maranan)

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Auction Details

THE SPECTACULAR MID-YEAR AUCTION 2024

by
Leon Gallery
June 08, 2024, 02:00 PM PST

Eurovilla 1, Rufino corner Legazpi Streets, Legazpi Village, Makati City, PH

Terms

Buyer's Premium

25.16%

Bidding Increments

From:To:Increment:
₱0₱9,999₱1,000
₱10,000₱19,999₱2,000
₱20,000₱59,999₱5,000
₱60,000₱199,999₱10,000
₱200,000₱399,999₱20,000
₱400,000₱799,999₱50,000
₱800,000₱1,999,999₱100,000
₱2,000,000₱4,999,999₱200,000
₱5,000,000₱9,999,999₱500,000
₱10,000,000+₱1,000,000

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a. The balance of the invoice must be paid in full and merchandise picked up within three (3) days from the date of the sale. One week after the auction, left items may be moved to an off-site facility for pick-up. A storage fee will be charged if merchandise is left longer than two (2) weeks of One Hundred Pesos (Php 100) per lot per day. If the property is left longer than four (4) weeks, it will be considered abandoned. We are not responsible for shipping, but if packing and handling of purchased lots will be done by us, it is done at the entire risk of the purchaser. A refundable deposit may be required.

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Account Name: Leon Gallery
Account Number: 2166008845
Address: G/F Corinthian Plaza, 121 Paseo de Roxas, Legazpi Village, Makati City, Philippines
Swift Code: MBTCPHMM