More gems from Nene Quimson collection up for auction 2
A pair of Famile Verte Vases adorning Betsy Westendorp’s portrait of Nene Quimson
Culture

More treasures from the homes of late society doyenne Nene Quimson up for auction

After a strong showing at last March’s ACC auction, a new set of offerings from the formidable woman of great style is up for bids
ANCX Staff | Apr 22 2022

Some of the biggest sales in Leon Gallery’s March auction for the Asian Cultural Council art scholars were from the collection of premier society figure Nene Tuason-Quimson. The biggest star was her imposing Betsy Westendorp painting of a bouquet of flowers which was 11-ft tall and 7-ft wide and sold for PHP 17,520,000. An Amorsolo painting of a harvest scene from the same collection fetched a startling PHP 12,848,000, while her small but hugely important Odalisca by Juan Luna went for PHP 11,680,000. And those are just the top 3 items that pulled in the most money. 

Nene Quimson’s 19th Century Sterling Silver Epergne
Nene Quimson’s 19th Century Sterling Silver Epergne. Hanging on the wall is Fernando Amorsolo’s Mango Gatherers, sold at The Asian Cultural Coun

Clearly, provenance played an important part in the success of these lots. That they came from Quimson’s collection, and are physical representations of her lifestyle and taste surely mattered a lot. That the socialite-philanthropist lived with these artworks and antiques for a fraction of her life carried considerable weight. 

Juan Luna’s Odalisca
20th century art deco sculptures adorning Juan Luna’s Odalisca (sold at The Asian Cultural Council Auction 2022)

The lady did have an eye for beauty—trained no doubt by all those years of traveling, and being surrounded only by the most exquisite things. Arts and antiques fans will have a chance to see more of her beloved pieces collected over the decades as Leon Gallery is once again presenting another important array of Quimson’s collection at this weekend’s Leon Exchange Online Auction. 

The Quimson Home in La Vista, Quezon City
The Quimson Home in La Vista, Quezon City

Included in the online sale are precious items from Nene’s La Vista home in Quezon City. The selection includes two 19th-century Sterling Silver Epergnes, an array of early 20th-century art deco sculptures, Famille Verte Porcelain Vases from the Qing Dynasty, a Double-Pedestal Dining Table, and an Oriental Twelve-Panel Screen Divider. 

The Double Pedestal Table
The Double Pedestal Table in the Quimson dining room, with Betsy Westendorp’s Untitled painting (sold at The Asian Cultural Council Auction 2022

Born Maria de los Angeles del Rosario Tuason, Nene was the youngest daughter of Jose Maria Zaragoza Tuason (from the prominent Tuason clan) and Magdalena Locsin del Rosario (who descended from the industrialist family that established the PHINMA conglomerate). Nene married Juan Tuason Quimson on February 11, 1953 and bore six children: Consuelo, John, Angeles, Ana Maria, Enrique, and Jose Luis. 

Lot 1490  A Sterling Silver Epergne 

Lot 1490 A Sterling Silver Epergne 
made by Goldsmiths Alliance Limited

Her eldest daughter Consuelo remembers how her mother was a lady of contradictions. “She was heaven and earth, fire and rain, yin and yang. At times, she was hard to figure out, hard to get on with. At other times, she was a joy to be with and super fun, discoing with us as teenagers in Regine’s.” 

Lot 1491 
A Sterling Silver Epergne
Lot 1491 
A Sterling Silver Epergne 


Nene’s elder son John, meanwhile, says his mother was very old school. She was always well-dressed, even in just her house clothes. Life at home was very organized. Breakfast was a casual affair but “lunch and dinner were formal, dressy ones. You know, all those plates and glasses and cutlery and staff to move everything.” 

Lot 1542 
A Pair of Famille Verte Vases
Lot 1542 
A Pair of Famille Verte Vases 

Nene’s residence was filled with the finest objects. The writer and antiques expert Toto Gonzales III notes: “Nene was a lady who took pride in her homes and gardens. She was ‘house proud’ and consequently had high standards regarding domestic upkeep. She had a loyal core staff whom she deployed wherever needed.” 

Lot 1562 
A Double Pedestal Dining Table
Lot 1562 
A Double Pedestal Dining Table 
Lacquered narra and hardwood; H: 30” (76 cm); L: 144” (366 cm); W: 47” (119 cm) 


Nene also had exquisite taste for fine dinnerware, says Gonzales III: “Nene went much further than her Tuason elders and laid her tables not only with wonderful food but also beautiful chinaware, glassware, silverware, and linens….Her lunch and dinner tables were invariably formal and set in the English style with layered chinaware and an array of silverware and glassware per place setting.”

Lot 1563 
An Oriental Twelve-Panel Screen or Room Divider
Lot 1563 
An Oriental Twelve-Panel Screen or Room Divider 
Lacquered and Parcel Gilt hardwood; 19th century; 108” x 228” x 3/4” (274 cm x 579 cm x 1 cm)

A Sèvres Vajilla (dinner service) is among the dinnerware owned by the grand dame that are witnesses to her refined manner of living. The vajilla being offered by Leon Gallery in the above mentioned online auction was manufactured by the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres, one of the leading European porcelain factories. It was founded in 1756 and is headquartered in Sèvres, Hauts-de-Seine in France. Since its foundation nearly three centuries ago, Sèvres has become one of the few porcelain companies that have retained its prestige and continuous demand in the market.

• Lot 1581 • The Tuason Sèvres Dinner Service
Lot 1581 The Tuason Sèvres Dinner Service

Salad Saucer Plate; Coffee Saucer Plate; Rimmed Bowl; Soup Bowl; Soup Tureen; Lidded Soup Dish; Extra Large Oval Platter; Large Oval Platter; Medium Oval Platter; Small Oval Platter; Footed Bowl

Sèvres is renowned for its varied styles and designs. Leon Gallery writes in its auction catalog: “The vajilla at hand, consisting of platters, saucers, and bowls, is decorated with various species of flora on the sides, which are also heavily accentuated by fine gilding in curls, scrolls, and trellis patterns. These decorations are hand-painted, a tradition that dates to the company’s foundation in the 18th century. Jeweled embellishments, in which gilt and colors are laid on like encrusted gems, highlight the edges of the crockery.”

To view more of what’s in store at the León Exchange 23rd Online Auction, ongoing from Friday, April 22 to Sunday, April 24 (starts at 11AM daily), browse the catalog at https://leon-gallery.com. For further inquiries, email info@leon-gallery.com or contact +632 8856 2781/+639985172010. 

All bidding will be online at www.leonexchange.com.