Jeannie Javelosa picks her faves from next Leon auction 2
Jeannie Javelosa (left) and “Moriones Festival” by Carlos “Botong” Francisco, one of her top picks in the upcoming Leon Gallery Spectacular Mid-Year Auction 2022. Photos courtesy of Leon Gallery
Culture

Tastemaker’s picks: Museum curator Jeannie Javelosa’s favorites from the coming Leon auction

Her background and relations with art world figures make this insider’s choices a richer, more informed guide to next weekend’s bidding wars
ANCX Staff | Jun 04 2022

“A work of art must speak to you both in an intellectual and an emotional level,” says Jeannie Javelosa, longtime curator of the Yuchengco Museum, when asked what she looks for in an artwork. 

As a chronicler of the art scene since the early 1990s, however, writing for newspapers and various book projects, and working with cultural institutions such as the CCP and the NCCA, the writer can’t help but factor in other considerations when we asked for her top 5 favorites from the upcoming Leon Gallery Spectacular Midyear Auction. Does it come from a pivotal period in an artist’s career? Is it made from a material not often found in an artist’s repertoire, rendering a piece more rare and special? 

Which makes Javelosa a great addition to our circle of tastemakers for the auction this June 11. Her insider background and relationships with art world figures make her choices below a richer, more informed guide if you’re looking at bidding for your first or nth art piece next weekend. 

Relativity by Eduardo Castrillo
Lot 5 Relativity by Eduardo Castrillo

Lot 5 “Relativity” by Ed Castrillo 

Signed and dated 2013; pig iron (black iron); 19" x 21" x 19" (48 cm x 53 cm x 48 cm)

“First, it’s quite difficult to find a Castrillo in another metal because he often uses brass. When he moves away [from the usual] using materials like this pig iron, or acrylic, or plexiglass in his early pieces, or silver and gold in jewelry, that becomes unique. Two: He is a monument man, therefore a lot of his pieces that are small are hard to come by. Three: He’s a good friend through life. I’ve been involved in project-managing his book. It’s also one of those pieces that you can set up any which way; when you’re bored with one angle, you just shift it and change.” 

“Moriones Festival” by Carlos “Botong” Francisco 
Lot 18 “Moriones Festival” by Carlos “Botong” Francisco 

Lot 18 “Moriones Festival” by Carlos “Botong” Francisco 

Signed and dated 1966 (upper left); oil on canvas; 48" x 34" (122 cm x 86 cm)

“When I was working at the CCP, I was on top of a whole retrospective of Botong so I really dove into his life and the beauty of his works as a muralist. He was known for the most sensuous linearity in his compositions. I love the “Moriones Festival” because it has the sense of playfulness of his coloration and yet it is our tradition and there is a heaviness about the painting. I love the lyricism of Botong. I really love his work.”

Black Saturday by Emmanuel Garibay
Lot 136 Black Saturday by Emmanuel Garibay
Different Tunes by Emmanuel Garibay
Different Tunes by Emmanuel Garibay

Lot 136 “Black Saturday” and 21 “Different Tunes” by Emmanuel “Manny” Garibay

“These show two different angles of his life. I knew Manny when we were working in the Malacañang Museum, my very first job after my grad school and he was under me. He was not even painting yet at that time. I know how intense he can be, how passionate he can be. I watched his paintings and career through the years precisely because he was a friend. He was working under me before he entered the visual arts scene.

“I like this ‘Black Saturday’ because it’s very brooding—that’s really Manny when he began. It has his sense of parang El Grecoish intensity, which later transformed into works like ‘Different Tunes’ where his social issues become more lyrical and more pleasant but still has that sense of pushing a social issue. You can see a sense of refinement in these two pieces.”

Lot 129 Estudio-Blanco (White Studio) by Fernando Zóbel 
Lot 129 Estudio-Blanco (White Studio) by Fernando Zóbel 

Lot 129 Estudio-Blanco (White Studio) by Fernando Zóbel 

Signed (lower right); signed, titled, numbered 72-38 and dated Junio 1972 (verso); oil on canvas; 24" x 24" (61 cm x 61 cm)

“When I got out of grad school, the art critic Rod Paras Perez took me under his wing and taught me book making and publishing through this book project on Fernando Zobel. So I got to know Zobel’s works and the refinement of his Saeta series, from the materiality to the spirituality, the luminosity of light. I love his works. (‘Estudio-Blanco’] is a piece in the catalogue that shows his style at it’s most minimalist but with the most depth.” 

Pre-colonial Gold Mask from Butuan/Surigao 
Lot 135 Pre-colonial Gold Mask from Butuan/Surigao 

Lot 135 Pre-colonial Gold Mask from Butuan/Surigao 

22k gold mounted on to 420 grams of sterling silver chainmail; with sterling silver frame, solid balayong base; 221/2" x 71/2" x 12" (57 cm x 19 cm x 30 cm)

“(I chose this because) this has a connection to my work as a curator. When the Philippines had the Festival of Arts and Culture in Paris, I coordinated all the museum collections and exhibitions. I took care of the curators who came here to Manila to take a look at what we could exhibit in the Musee Histoire Naturelle and all the different spaces. And the Butuan pieces that we showed, the pre-colonial gold which we put together from the Central Bank collection and other collectors, were fantastic. Our Pre-Colonial gold showcase we exhibited there was as good as Peruvian gold.” 

[Leon Gallery’s Spectacular Mid-Year Auction 2022 is happening this June 11 at 2PM. Co-presented by ANCX, the auction gathers a staggering 142 lots made up of art from Filipino masters and contemporary artists, as well as precious antiques. To browse what’s in store, visit the Leon Gallery website by clicking on this link.]

Photos courtesy of Leon Gallery