One of the most intriguing relationships in the art world is the one forged between the artist and his collector. What draws one to keep buying one artist’s work over the years, and is a personal relationship really necessary? Does a collector eventually dream of influencing the work of an artist?
These questions and more will be explored in Fundacion Sansó’s series of shows called Sansó: Prized and Personal. It will feature the Spanish-born artist’s avid collectors and their private acquisitions. The exhibitions, according to the press release, are meant to give insight on the many aspects of Sansó’s art, and how these aspects resonate with the individuals and families who have made it their personal mission to create a comprehensive Sansó collection. It will also give the public a chance to see works that have long been in homes and private institutions.
The collection featured in the very first show is that of Fundacion Sansó chairman Jack Teotico who, along with other friends of the artist, founded the San Juan museum in 2014 with the artist to establish Sansó’s legacy and support his advocacies.
Composed of 36 works, mostly on paper, in different mediums spanning the various eras of Sansó’s art career, from the Black Period, Floating Bouquet, and drybrush barong-barong creations, to the highly popular Brittany and En Vase series, this first of the “Prized and Personal” shows is a celebration not just of Sansó’s art, but also of Teotico’s and Sansó’s long-running friendship.
Teotico first met Sansó in the early 1980s, when the former was still working at the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority along Benavidez Street in Makati.
“One Saturday, I was working and decided to go grab a bite to eat, and I ended up walking into an art gallery,” Teotico relates. Long story short, he crashed into a jam session of the famous Saturday Group who he thought the was just a random bunch of hobbyists. “At that time, I was only 30 years old, and many of the men were in their 50s and 60s and what they were painting were really good; I was curious so I popped in and watched them.”
The group was then led by National Artist Cesar Legaspi. Its members included such names as Onib Olmedo, Mauro Malang, Romulo Olazo, Ang Kiukok, and Jose Joya.
After a few weeks, Teotico became a regular in the sessions, joining in to sketch or to merely observe. “And then once in a while, there was this guy who would show up, medyo blue-green-eyes, artista-looking! Every time he showed up, nagkakagulo sila because he was very full of life, full of energy, with lots of news from Paris or New York, marami siyang kuwento,” Teotico continues. “And this guy was Juvenal Sansó.”
This chance encounter with the Saturday Group led to Teotico’s friendship with Sansó, and the beginnings of an art collection—not just consisting of works by the Spanish-born maestro but of other major Filipino artists as well.
Teotico shares what sets Sansó’s art apart from the rest. “One of the things that I learned in collecting is to discern an artwork not by thinking if it is good or bad, but by measuring the emotional impact of that artwork on the viewer,” Teotico says. “There is an emotional impact in every painting by Sansó. Each of them will have a nuance or something about it that will make you happy, sad, disturbed, or relaxed. But emotionally, it will hit you. And emotional impact is very important in collecting. Don’t buy a painting if it doesn’t hit you here [points to the heart].
For Teotico, Sanso’s works usually possess that visceral quality. “In Sansó’s paintings, you could feel the blue sky. You could feel the sea, the mist of the water hitting the rocks, the verdant splendor of nature. That is the greatness of Sansó the Man—how many artists can give you that?”
[The Sansó: Prized and Personal online launch on February 24, 2022, at 2:30pm will be shown via FB Live on the official Fundacion Sansó Facebook page. Sansó: Prized and Personal can be viewed online, and the physical exhibit at Fundacion Sansó will run until April 30, 2022.
For more information, contact Fundacion Sansó at email@example.com, or follow them on Facebook @FUNDACIONSANS0 and @fundacion_sanso on Instagram. Fundacion Sansó is located at 32 V. Cruz, San Juan City. Museum hours are 10am to 3pm Monday to Friday.]