The Paulino Que Collection of Philippine Modern Art

Cesar Legaspi, "Bar Girls", 1947

Victorio Edades, "Self Portrait", 1928

A year ago, Paulino and Hetty Que allowed Manila art lovers to revel in their wonderful collection of Philippine contemporary

Ang Kiukok, "Girl With Doll"

paintings.  We all had our fill of the key Filipino artists making waves today in both the local and international art scene.  This month, Paulino brings out more of his collection, older pieces that any enthusiast of Philippine art history should make a point to see.

Nena Saguil, "Power Room", 1953

Meaning To Be Modern, Philippine Paintings from 1907 to 1959 mounted at the Finale Art File takes us through a fifty-year-period that saw the emergence of important work by names we revere today:  The Thirteen Moderns, The Triumvirate of Victorio Edades, Galo Ocampo, and Botong Francisco, and the stalwarts of the Philippine Art Gallery (PAG) and the Art Association of the Philippines (AAP) competitions.  The modern movement in the Philippines essentially began with Edades challenging the prevalence of the classical, idyllic images adopted by Fernando Amorsolo and his disciples.  In this exhibit, we see works considered subversive and avant-garde half a century ago.  Even more interesting for me, this show allows us to revisit works by names that no longer resonate today, artists like Cenon Rivera, Hugo Yonzon, and Venancio Igarte.

By Hugo Yonzon

Venancio Igarte, "Shop Window Stars", 1950

Senon Rivera, "Yellow Moon", 1957

This exhibit brings out so many gems, pieces atypical of the techniques that we have come to associate with certain artists.   Who would have thought of Jose Joya as a voyeur?   In his Athletes In Locker painted in 1953, we glimpse muscled buns and naked

Jose Joya, "Athletes In Locker Room", 1953

torsos of unguarded male subjects.  Nena Saguil‘s surreal Power Room, also from 1953, has a water closet dominatrix whipping turds and toilet paper to her bidding.   And you have Sanso’s Nocturnalia,  a woman of the night making her church offerings.  She dons a veil, but the plunging neckline of her lace dress gives her away for what she is.  I love Cesar Legaspi‘s Bar Girls, 1947.  He depicts two women with harsh, almost masculine features, sitting down for a smoke, perhaps waiting for their next customer.  Legaspi painted their faces green, making them even more sinister, almost grotesque. If  I had to choose a favorite, this would be it.

Sanso, "Nocturnalia", 1958

One cannot take everything in in one go, especially not on opening night with its distractions.  This exhibit deserves a second, more leisurely visit.  That gives me the perfect excuse to go back and enjoy this great opportunity that Paulino Que has allowed us to experience.

Alfonso Ossorio, "St. Martin and The Beggar", 1940

Anita Magsaysay-Ho, "Beggar Girl", 1944

Meaning To Be Modern, Philippine Paintings from 1907 to 1959 Paulino Que Collection runs from 5 to 30 March 2010 at the Finale Art File, Warehouse 17, La Fuerza Compound, 2241 Pasong Tamo, Makati City.  Phone (632) 813-2310 or visit

Arturo Luz, "Street Musicians", 1952

Arturo Luz, "Chair With Table and Lamp", 1957

Arturo Luz, "Piko", 1952

Carlos "Botong" Francisco, "Maria Makiling", 1947

Victorio Edades, "The Artist and The Model"

By Federico A Alcuaz

Fernando Zobel, "Bodegon Atillano", 1952

Galo Ocampo, "Crucifixion", 1950

Galo Ocampo, "War and Peace", Feb 10, 1955

Helen Roces Guerrerro, "Blue Madonna"

HR Ocampo, "Blooming", 1939

J. Elizalde Navarro, "Passengers On To Central Station", 1957

Jess Ayco, "Remembrance Of The Beloved", 1951

Jose Joya, "Details of Notre Dame", 1956

Jose Joya, "Approaching Storm", 1951

Juan Arellano, "Madamoiselle of Zamboanga"

Vicente Manansala, "Beggars", 1952

Rodolfo Ragodon, "Chinatown", 1956

Victor Oteyza, "Plastic Engineering"

"Meaning To Be Modern", opening night


17 Responses to The Paulino Que Collection of Philippine Modern Art

  1. lukinda says:

    this show is a big nice surprise just to see the latent “gayness” of Jose joya with his painting of nude boys in a locker room, ha ha ha!
    and nena saguil’s camp weirdness with her work power room, hilarious!

    and sanso, he really works well with caricature and illustrative work you’d wonder why he even went on churning out ghastly kitschy monochromatic moonscapes you’d see in 70s era hotel lobbies.

  2. Maurese Oteyza Owens says:

    I am the daughter of Victor Oteyza and to come upon one of his paintings in a collection is pure joy. He did not have many paintings in the 1950s so to discover one more is wonderful. I am currently tracking his paintings and plan to put a book together. I would like to request a photo of the piece exhibited, and any other the collecter may have with the date and dimensions. Please let me know how we can make this happen. I am only in the Philippines once a year but if there is any opportunity to see it up close and personal, that experience would be tremendous. I also ask if you know of any other collector who would have Victor Oteyza paintings. Thank you!

    • manilaartblogger says:

      How wonderful to know that my blog will have something to do with putting you in touch with your father’s pieces. I suggest you contact Finale Art File for a better photograph of the piece. Also, they may be able to help you. The gallery information is in this post. Good luck!

    • Deborah Mounts says:

      I have a 1952 Victor Oteyza painting that was found in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I would be interested in selling it to a collector.

      • evita says:

        hello Deborah! Please send us image and details of the 1952 Victor Oteyza. That is excting, we might have somebody interested. Thanks!

  3. Deborah Mounts says:

    I never saw this answer to my entry!! I have not had any response after my first communication with Maurese.
    This painting was left in a house that I bought in San Miguel.The house belonged to a Mexican actress who was well know in the 50’s and who had an affair with Carlos Fuentes about that time. Tabuena lived in San Miguel (and still does, I believe) which leads me to believe that this is an authentic painting. I have fotos of the painting as well as a close up of the signature. What is the best email to send it to?
    I look forward to hearing back from you.
    Debbie Mounts EdD

  4. Deborah Mounts says:

    Thank you! Debbie

    • Jun Tan says:

      Hi Debbie, this is Jun Tan. I also have a Victor Oteyza painting and will love to acquire one more if it’s still available. Kindly send me the photo and the close up of the signature, should you have sold it already still send me the photos so that I can also compare it with my painting. My email

      • I never saw this reply either! The painting was purchased by Evita for a client in her gallery who had it restored. However, if I still have fotos of the painting I will send them to you in another email.

  5. says:

    dear sir
    where is this Collection: The Paulino Que Collection of Philippine Modern Art?
    is it in Manila?
    Any postal address?
    many thanks

  6. Thanks manilaartblogger!

  7. Jack says:

    Where i can find other paintings of Jess Ayco?

  8. Dino Acuna says:

    Great event. The works I just saw are jaw dropping. Two thumbs up!

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