Peering into this season’s León Exchange Online Auction promises to be a revelation into glamorous other lives. Exquisite offerings from the collections of the country’s accomplished and most social women are among the highlights. The two-day event is set on January 23 and 24 at 11 a.m., with its official catalog brimming with a total of 1,542 lots.
Day 2 is headlined as “Heiresses’ Homes and Tables.” First up are furniture pieces and objets d’art from the Gina Lopez collection. Lopez is the widely loved and revered managing director of the ABS-CBN Foundation from 1994 to 2014, was a passionate advocate of environment conservation, education, child protection, and other important causes. She was also the energetic founder of Bantay Kalikasan and was the former ad interim DENR Secretary.
Most notable from Lopez’s trove is a round dining table measuring six feet across, a ‘solo pieza’ or fashioned from a single hefty piece of narra. There are also armoires and tribal furniture that demonstrate Lopez’s love for all things fine and Filipino. In addition, there are various groups of dining chairs, armchairs, outdoor furniture, enough to fit several homes or offices elegantly.
A beautiful Louis XVI Suite from the Doña Nene Quimson collection is also a must-have for the elegant home. Doña Nene, the wife of the late Philippine Ambassador to the Court of St. James, John Quimson, is the founder of the Filipino Women’s Association in the UK. She is known to be elegant, well-traveled, and loved by many, inviting her long-time friends to an open house in her beautifully appointed estate in Ascot, as she maintains residences in both the Philippines and the UK.
A turn-of-the-century Isabelo Tampinco matrimonial bed was part of the wedding trousseau of the society beauty Rosario Velez y Rodriguez Infante of Guagua, Pampanga. It was ordered by her then about to be MIL Doña Rosa Roxas de Zaragoza of Binondo and Quiapo from the atelier of Tampinco. Elias Zaragosa, Rosario’s bridegroom, was a brilliant barrister and patriot. This Tampinco bed in pristine condition is made of narra hardwood and features charming bayabas (or guava?) carvings.
For devotees of the Black Nazarene, an ivory Nazareno cloaked in gilt-embroidered velvet and encased in a ‘virina’ (or glass dome) is another timeless artwork. The Christ carries a kamagong cross inlaid with thin strips of lanite and has silver ‘cantoneras’ or terminals.
Also part of the León Exchange offerings is a set of double-doors rescued from a bahay na bato. It is made of narra with kamagong capitals for the stately columns on either side of this portal.
From the 20th century are two excellent pieces : A highly functional glass and wood cabinet, designed by the uber-collectible Benji Reyes. It has a minimal, timeless design in which the master furniture maker showcases his distinct translation of “ergonomic” to wood furniture.
Also covetable is a mid-century modern classic, the definitiive ‘LC4 chaise lounge’, designed by Le Corbusier, Jeanneret and Perriand who melded the ideas of form, function and comfort to another level. This particular iteration is by the Italian furniture firm Alivar, marked and with identifying tag intact.
A complete vintage collection curated by the excellent team of MidCentury Manila is also on offer, featuring various iconic chairs, tables, and lamps.
Another delicious find is a stunning 8.69-carat Colombian emerald ring in 18k white gold and surrounded by white diamonds. Take note that this emerald is untreated and not enhanced in any way. Meanwhile, alluring paintings from Juvenal Sanso’s most sought-after period round out the collection for gentlemen (and lady) collectors.
Apart from the items mentioned, works from old, new, and emerging artists, objects, furniture, collectible toys, and timeless jewelry and watches are all to be found in the two-day León Exchange Online Auction, Edition 18 on Saturday, January 23 and Sunday, January 24, both beginning at 11 a.m. Register now and bid at https://www.leonexchange.com. Previews ongoing at León Gallery, Warehouse 14, La Fuerza Compound, Don Chino Roces Avenue, Makati.