Three years ago, Ambeth Ocampo arranged for the
Board of Trustees of the Museum Foundation of the Philippines to view Paulino and Hetty Que’s collection of Philippine art and historical objets. Ambeth, perhaps only half-kidding, dubbed the occasion the tour of the”… real National Gallery”. As he took us through the assembly of works, from Juan Luna’s canvases, to Fabian dela Rosa’s landscapes, then onto the Amorsolos, and the Thirteen Moderns, from the Ben Cabs to the Ang Kiukoks, we realized what Ambeth meant. The staggering display covered the whole gamut of Philippine art history from Damian Domingo’s Academia de Dibujo to the 1980s.
Trust a collector like Paulino Que to keep up with the times. What had not been on view then, he shares with Philippine art lovers now as he brings out his collection of young contemporaries. What a treat to see the best of the best of paintings from 1996 to today, from the most celebrated and exciting artists we currently follow.
Thank you to Paulino for generously sharing a part of his collection, and allowing us the privilege to witness contemporary art history in the making.
Of the 21 pieces up on Finale’s huge walls, there are a few that I wish I could wrap up and hang on mine: Jojo Legaspi’s St. Thelma tops my list. No one else depicts stark terror and anger as finely as he does. You feel the profanity come to life. Then, Geraldine Javier at her lyrical and melancholic best with Bubbles in His Head. So sadly beautiful. I wish I had the means to commission Behind the Scenes by Jose Santos III. John just keeps getting better and better. The Thomasites Were Here brings us another of Alfredo Esquillo Jr’s excellently- rendered commentaries on Philippine historical events. Too bad I don’t have the space for this triptych (as if!). And I must say I also love Kawayan De Guia’s Subtle Repercussions A which I find to be the most contemporary of the bunch.
Would love to hear your favorites!
Figuring The Times, Philippine Paintings 1996 to 2009, A Selection from the Paulino Que Collection is on view at Finale Art File from 13 March to 3 April 2009. Finale is located at Warehouse 17, La Fuerza Compound, Pasong Tamo, Makati. Phone (632) 810-4071 or visit www.finaleartfile.com. For more information on Geraldine Javier visit www.geraldinejavier.com