Yao behind an Elmer Borlongan. Right: Detail of "Tempo Rubato" (Robbed Time) by Hernando R. Ocampo

The best of the lots: Collector Olivia Yao reveals her favorites from the upcoming León auction

The former banker turned publisher gives us an idea of what attracts her to an artwork, and her wishlist for the León Gallery Kingly Treasures Auction
ANCX Staff | Nov 17 2020

Olivia Yao started collecting art in 1998, a year after she married Stanley Yao whom she says played a significant part in her journey in the arts. 

The lady is one of the more likable and respected collectors around. While often the picture of propriety in art events, the erstwhile banker—she is now with a non-stock, non-profit medical organization—tells ANCX that the art she’s acquired over the years will surprise those who only know her from afar. “My collection is not safe. It’s not in the middle, it’s extreme. It’s adventurous,” says the publisher of the landmark book “Art after War, 1948-1969” by Patrick Flores.

“It reflects certain stages of my life and the state of my mind at any given time,” she says of her collection. “I am very fortunate that my husband allowed me to express myself through the pictures we live with.” 

We asked Olivia to be one of our tastemakers for the most important auction of the year: the León Gallery Kingly Treasures Auction 2020, the esteemed gallery’s third partnership with ANCX, the lifestyle website of the ABS-CBN News Channel. 

For this story, we asked the collector to pick out her five favorites from the treasures on offer this November. It’s a wishlist of sorts, and for our readers, perhaps a useful guide. Here are Olivia’s choices: 


1.  HR Ocampo’s, "Tempo Rubato" 

Once in a while you get a great work that goes to market. This is one of them. A powerful work with harmonious composition and depth created during an important period in the artist’s life. Plus, that impeccable provenance. Unforgettable HR piece!


2.  Lee Aguinaldo, "Linear No. 36"

Sophisticated, elegant, quiet but strong piece created during Lee's best period.  


3.  Manuel Rodriguez, "Untitled (Vendor)"

Simplicity at its finest. I love the play of colour and geometric shape making this work timeless.

4. Annie Cabigting "Tearing into Pieces"

This is an important conceptual work from one of the finest contemporary artists in our country. This work is certainly on the list of many serious collectors as it can be characterized as the beginning of what we know today as an inspired and successful practice.  


5.  Geraldine Javier "Hide and Seek"

Monumental and powerful piece that characterizes Geraldine's visual narratives that are consistently seen in her works.  An outstanding piece!

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.

View the online catalog as well as register to bid now at www.leon-gallery.com. For inquiries, call (02) 8856-2781 or send an email at info@leon-gallery.com.