To understand Eugenio “Geny” Lopez, one must look to his forebears. His father was none other than Don Eugenio "Eñing" Lopez, Sr. who social historian Augusto “Toto” M R Gonzalez III would dub as one of the country’s most "mythic creatures" — so grand and so complex, they would have had to be invented if they were not made of flesh and blood.
By the late 1960s, there was no Filipino more powerful, more famous and wealthy. He was the leading industrialist of post-World War II Philippines. With resources that came from sugar production, he pioneered in diverse fields of business including transportation, mass media, and energy (MERALCO), becoming one of the first Filipino successes in business in a largely American dominated economy.
A staunch nationalist, Don Geny's father also believed that by preserving and promoting the Filipino heritage, his countrymen would eventually develop a sense of national pride that would enable the country to develop a unified spirit. It was towards this goal that he established the Lopez Museum and Library (then the Lopez Memorial Museum).
Initially intended to memorialize the memory of his parents, Don Benito and Doña Presentacion, the statesman Claro M. Recto quickly hailed the museum as "a university without professors" as its purpose grew greater. It’s first curator was foremost historian Renato Constantino under whose watch the museum acquired the famed “Juan Luna, Espana y Filipinas,” a work singled out for its depiction of the friendship between Spain and the Philippines, and the true goal of Filipino propagandists: assimilation and equality with its colonizers. Acquisitions such as this complemented the museum’s collection of rare Philippine books and antique maps collected by the industrialist.
Geny Lopez was born into this rarefied and highly sophisticated milieu. An over-active boy, he would eventually be sent to the Virginia Military Institute where he graduated in 1950. He studied at Harvard Business School and returned to helm what would become the country’s largest and most influential media conglomerate, ABS-CBN—in the great tradition of his grandfather Benito who founded El Tiempo, the first daily newspaper in Iloilo.
Throughout his adulthood, Geny would amass a great art collection of his own, comprised of traditional impressionist paintings from some of the most gifted Filipino masters, as well as those considered to be modernist works. Seventeen pieces from this collection will be part of the offerings in this November’s León Gallery Kingly Treasures Auction, which includes a signed HR Ocampo from 1949 entitled “Tempo Rubato,” a signed Cesar Legaspi oil on panel from 1980, and a couple of Fabian Dela Rosas depicting women in native dress, both from 1922.
The Léon Gallery Kingly Treasures Auction 2020 is the third major alliance between León Gallery, the country’s most trusted auction house, and ANCX.ph, the urban man’s guide to style and culture, the online lifestyle site of ANC, the ABS-CBN News Channel. The auction will take place on the 28th of November at 2PM.
Photos from Leon Gallery