Betsy Westendorp painting of flowers sells for P17.5M 2
Betsy Westendorp with the painting as background by Denise Weldon; (right) her floral bouquet auction piece

Girls rule auction: Betsy Westendorp painting sold at P17.5M, Amorsolo portrait of a lady at P10.5M

Meanwhile, the first Filipino artist to put the Philippines on the map set a milestone for Luna watercolors
ANCX Staff | Mar 07 2022

Malang’s women, Amorsolo’s dalaga, and the ‘lost goddess’ of Escolta flexed their individual powers this weekend at the León Gallery Asian Cultural Council (ACC) Auction, kicking off International Women’s Month. The biggest star of the show, however, was the painter Betsy Westendorp whose towering floral bouquet (measuring almost 11 feet long and 7 feet wide) from 1986, rang in P 17.5 million including buyer’s premium. This set the tone for the entire auction’s female-centric results. 

Lot 52. Betsy Westendorp - Untitled
 Untitled by Betsy Westendorp
Lot 64. Juan Luna - Odalisca (Odalisque)
Odalisca (Odalisque) by Juan Luna

Juan Luna’s ‘Odalisca (Odalisque)’ earned the 19th-century genius another world record. The first Filipino artist to put the Philippines on the map set a milestone for Luna watercolors when the 1882-signed and dated work sold for P11.7 million. The languorous depiction of a harem woman comes from the master’s fertile Roman period which produced his memorable ‘Death of Cleopatra’ as well as the historic ‘Spoliarium.’

A Caryatid
A Caryatid

The imposing ‘Caryatid’ — a column sculpted in the shape of a Grecian maiden — from the Edificio Tuason Building once defined Escolta at the turn of the century. Last Saturday, its iconic status led it to stroll off with P1.6 million. 

Fernando Amorsolo - Mango Gatherers
Mango Gatherers by Fernando Amorsolo

Meanwhile, the working women of Fernando Amorsolo followed suit, beginning with a fetching ‘kayumanggi’ portrait titled ‘A Typical Filipina Beauty’ from 1926 which brought in P10.5 million. A largish ‘Mango Gatherers’ from 1970 reeled in P13 Million, thanks to its distinguished provenance—the society doyenne, Doña Nene Tuason Quimson. 

Lot 31. Fernando Amorsolo - A Typical Filipina Beauty
A Typical Filipina Beauty by Fernando Amorsolo
Lot 107. Fernando Amorsolo - Portrait of Doña Aurora Tambunting
Portrait of Doña Aurora Tambunting by Fernando Amorsolo

Leon Gallery director Jaime Ponce de Leon revealed that the graceful portrait of another illustrious society matron, Doña Nena Tambunting, was withdrawn from the auction floor last minute—it will instead be donated to the Philippine National Museum’s roster of portraits. (The companion portrait of her daughter, Mrs. Teresita Liboro, was snapped up, however, at just over a million pesos.)

Mauro Malang Santos - Barrio Scene
Barrio Scene by Mauro Malang Santos

Virgin Marys from the 18th century from the Legarda collection as well as a glorious Ang Kiukok “Rosary Queen” were other notable catches, as was Malang’s “Barrio Scene” which reaped over P8 million. Other notable sales include a Philippine School ‘After Resurreccion Hidalgo’ that captured several of his most beloved characters. It hit P4.4 million while a pair of ‘Tipos Filipinos’ from another master, Felix Lorenzo Martinez, took in P5 million.

Lot 183A. Felix Martinez y Lorenzo - Tipos Filipinos (Maestra de Escuela)
Tipos Filipinos (Maestra de Escuela) by Felix Martinez y Lorenzo
Lot 183B. Felix Martinez y Lorenzo - Tipos Filipinos (Banquero de la Barra de Napindan)
Tipos Filipinos (Banquero de la Barra de Napindan) by Felix Martinez y Lorenzo

A portion of the proceeds of the annual ACC auction is earmarked for the benefit of Filipino artists intent on spreading their wings abroad. Ponce de Leon reported that one of the auction’s featured artists, ACC grantee Nikki Luna, has an ongoing show at the Casa Vicens Museum in Barcelona. She now has the distinction of being the first Filipino to exhibit there. “It’s a fitting tribute not just to the Asian Cultural Council but also to the cause of all women artists,” said Ponce de Leon.

[The Asian Cultural Council Auction 2022 is presented by Leon Gallery and co-presented by ANCX]