Juan Luna Y Novicio (1857 - 1899), Boceto for ʻDeath of Cleopatraʼ 1880, Oil on canvas, 25.4 x 38 cm (10 x 15 in). Photograph from Salcedo Auction
Culture Art

Luna’s study of “Death of Cleopatra” sells for Php 9.3 million at auction

The recently-concluded Salcedo Auction was a varied and beautiful mix of works by the country’s top masters, as well as impeccably-crafted jewelry and timepieces.
ANCX Staff | Mar 15 2019

Salcedo Auction concluded another successful auction last March 9, 2019—with works by Juan Luna sweeping top slots.

The star of the auction was Luna’s “Death of Cleopatra” boceto, which, per square inch, was the highest price fetched by a Luna at any auction. The piece sold for Php 9.3 M. The painting measures 10 x 15 inches, which comes down to Php 62, 293 per square inch. The value of the painting comes as no surprise, as the actual Death of Cleopatra earned Juan Luna a silver medal at the 1881 Exposition of Fine Arts in Madrid. Like its boceto, it did staggeringly well. It was a painting that allowed its painter a pension scholarship at the Ayuntamiento de Manila, and it sold for a pretty peseta back in the day (as pretty perhaps as its going price at this auction).

The other two top bids were “The Hunting Party,” a painting done by Luna during his Paris days, and “Draped Nude” by Félix Resurección Hidalgo. With the “Hunting Party,” Luna moved on from figurative work to impressionist strokes. The paining makes for a good study of Luna’s evolution as a painter—one whose sense of allegory and figuration, at least for a time, made way for the loose strokes present in this particular painting. ”The Hunting Party” fetched Php 9.928M. while “Draped Nude” tied with Cleopatra at Php 9.3M.

Félix Resurrección Hidalgo (1855 - 1913), Untitled (Draped Nude, Reclining in a Forest Landscape), (Possibly ʻEn la soledad del bosqueʼ), Undated (c.1880), Oil on canvas, 90 x 105 cm (35 1/2 x 41 1/3 in)

“Cleopatra” and “The Hunting Party” were won by floor bids, while “Draped Nude” was sold to a phone bidder.

Works by other Filipino masters also did well at the auction. An untitled sculpture by Napoleon Abueva sold for Php 1.754 M. “Blue Dream” by Jose Joya fetched Php 2.803M, “Mother Earth Cooks up a Storm” by J. Navarro cooked up a storm at Php 2.336 M. Auction favorite Ronald Ventura fetched Php 9.344 M for “Recover.” Masters Ang Kiukok and BenCab, unsurprisingly, also did very well at the auction. With BenCab’s “Larawan” fetching Php 9.344M, his “Sabel” fetching a staggering Php 16.352 M, and Kiukok’s “Mother and Child” auctioned off at Php 4.672 M.

Click on the image below for slideshow

Ang Kiukok (1931 - 2005), Mother and Child 1981, Oil on canvas, 61 x 61 cm (24 x 24 in) 

BenCab (B. 1942) Untitled (ʻLarawanʼ Series) 2001, Acrylic on canvas, 121.5 x 79.5 cm (47 3/4 x 31 1/4 in) 

Ronald Ventura (B. 1973), Recover 2017, Oil on canvas, 61 x 91 cm (24 x 36 in) 

Napoleon Abueva (1930 - 2018), Untitled 1971, Marble, 43 x 45 x 42 cm (17 x 17 3/4 x 16 1/2 in), 108 x 54 x 58 cm (42 1/2 x 21 1/4 x 22 3/4 in), with stand 

Juan Luna Y Novicio (1857 - 1899), The Hunting Party c.1890s, Oil on canvas, 168.5 x 110.2 cm (66 1/3 x 43 2/5 in) 

A kamagong and narra tambol aparador, 2nd Quarter, 19th century, Manila, Kamagong, narra with lanite inlays, silver mounts, 194 x 124 x 51 cm (76 x 49 x 20 in) 

J. Elizalde Navarro (1924 - 1999), Mother Earth Cooks Up a Storm 1997, Acrylic on canvas, 87 x 98 cm (34 1/2 x 38 1/2 in) 

Jose Joya (1931 - 1995), Blue Dream 1976, Acrylic on canvas, 71 x 56 cm (28 x 22 in) 

The auction also saw the sales of beautiful pieces of Philippine furniture. Among them, a Bishop’s chair from the last quarter of the last century which sold for Php 700,800, and a kamagong and narra tambol aparador, which sold for Php 1.752 M.

Garnering top bids for jewelry and timepieces were an impeccably crafted yellow gold ring and bracelet set by Rene Boivin which sold for Php 327, 040, and a diamond-encrusted yellow gold Piaget watch, which sold for Php 420, 480.  

The total hammer price for the auction was a staggering Php 108,228,000.  


Photographs from Salcedo Auction