Dr. Rico Quimbo picks best from upcoming Leon auction 2
Dr. Rico Quimbo with  Romulo Olazo's "Diaphanous B-LIII." Photos courtesy of Leon Gallery

Art collector Dr. Rico Quimbo picks the best from the upcoming Leon auction

The pathologist credits the doctor and art patron Dr. Joven Cuanang for giving his lifelong interest in art a push, directing him towards collecting
ANCX Staff | Dec 01 2021

If you’re looking to read a few thoughtful, bite-size insights on current art exhibitions in the city, we recommend you follow the Instagram account @artspotting_mnl. The man behind it is pathologist and collector Dr. Rico Quimbo, one of the more serious art watchers around, devotedly paying the town’s noted galleries a visit whenever his busy schedule allows. 

“I started collecting in 1995 when my lifelong interest in gazing at art was given a push by Dr. Joven Cuanang who was my professor in medical school,” Dr. Rico tells ANCX. “He gathered a group of likeminded individuals in med school to the humanities component in doctor’s training.”

The tall and always dignified-looking doctor is a regular presence in art openings pre-pandemic, and as shown in his Instagram, he visits artists’ studios, too. What kind of decision-making process is involved when he acquires an artwork? “I’ve always looked for fresh perspectives and new ways of looking at things. Fresh and new is not always pretty and living room-friendly but neither is reality—so I don’t have too much flowers and pastoral scenes in my collection,” he says. “When I see something new and the work resonates with me on a personal level, that’s when I get to know the artist and what he or she is all about. If I can see myself with the work 20 years down the line and I can afford it then I purchase.” 

Hence, one might say Dr. Rico’s collection is highly personal. “In a sense, they’re autobiographical in a conceptual sort of way.” 

With his unique perspective in art and his background in the art scene, Dr. Rico is a natural choice for our circle of tastemakers this month for the upcoming Leon Gallery Kingly Treasures Auction (slated this weekend, December 4). After joining our panel for the ANCX Forum on the topic of auction stars versus museum pieces, he shares with us four of his favorite lots from the yearend auction offerings. 

"Costumes of Manilla" (sic) Tipos del Pais (People of the Country) by Justiniano Asunción. Inscribed on the cover, “Purchased 31st December 1843”, according to Dr. Legarda’s typewritten notes, signed and dated (lower right) each, watercolor on paper, 14" x 9" (36 cm x 23 cm) each

Lot 57 “Costumes of Manilla (sic) Tipos del Pais (People of the Country) by Justiniano Asuncion

“Amazing how these works on paper have survived almost 150 years to give us these glimpses of Filipinos and their daily wear. Eastern genius meets western technique. Timeless imagery that continues to inspire contemporary art, fashion, even portrait photography.”

"Mutants" by Hernando R. Ocampo. Signed (lower right and verso) and dated 1964 (lower right), oil on canvas, 40" x 30" (102 cm x 76 cm)

Lot 42 “Mutants” by Hernando R. Ocampo

“Looks fresh as if painted recently. Steadfastly cutting edge and modern today as it was then.” 

"Riders On A Beach, A Passing Grey Garden At Fundacion Bayeler" by Annie Cabigting. Dated 2017, oil on canvas, 52" x 48" (132 cm x 122 cm)

Lot 63 Riders on A Beach, A Passing Grey Garden at Fundacion Bayeler by Annie Cabigting 

“Annie Cabigting’s work, beyond the photorealistic prowess, is an unwavering commitment to conceptual art imbibed from the late professor Roberto Chabet. Yes, beautiful. But unsettling at the same time. The gazer or the gazed? The beach scene  on the wall vs the garden scene on the jacket? Verso or recto?”

"Diaphanous B-LIII" by Romulo Olazo. Signed and dated 1981 (lower left), oil on canvas, 60" x 48" (152 cm x 122 cm)

Lot 135 Diaphanous B—LIII by Romulo Olazo 

“Personally my favourite series amongst the late great master’s body of work. Specially the blue ones which resemble cyanotype images. Nothing quite like them anywhere.”


[The artworks for the upcoming Kingly Treasures Auction are available for viewing from November 27 to December 3, Saturday to Friday, from 9 AM to 7 PM, at León Gallery, G/F Eurovilla 1, Rufino corner Legazpi Streets, Legaspi Village, Makati City. The Kingly Treasures Auction 2021 is co-presented by ANCX.ph, the urban man’s guide to culture and style, and the lifestyle website of the ABS-CBN News Channel. 

For further inquiries, email info@leon-gallery.com or contact +632 8856-27-81. To browse the catalog, visit www.leon-gallery.com. For updates, follow León Gallery on their social media pages: Facebook - www.facebook.com/leongallerymakati and Instagram @leongallerymakati.]

Photos courtesy of Leon Gallery