Arts & Culture

This Auction Will Benefit Children With Cancer

The 109-lot auction is expected to fetch a tidy sum, given the stunning items on the block.
IMAGE GREENBULB COMMUNICATIONS
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An estimated 3,500 Filipino children are diagnosed with cancer every year, according to a 2014 study in online journal Cancer Control. Of these cases, only 30 percent of the children survive in the long-term. Some of these children will be the beneficiaries of the upcoming Gavel & Block Benefit auction, taking place on July 20 at NEX Tower on Ayala Avenue.

Some noteworthy pieces available for bidding at the event include a triptych of BenCab sculptures depicting women draped in flowing fabrics that opens bidding at P750,000 to P800,000. Juvenal Sanso’ Close to Shore, an enchanting river scene inspired by the artist’s travels in France, starts from P2,500,000 to P3,000,000. Fernando Zobel’s minimalist abstract El Recreo II starts bidding at P5,000,000.

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Juvenal Sansó - Close to Shore, 2006; Acrylic on canvas; 114.5 x 167.5 cm (45 x 66 in)
Photo by GREENBULB COMMUNICATIONS.
Fernando Zóbel - El Recreo II, Undated; Oil on canvas; 91.5 x 91.5 cm (36 x 36 in)
Photo by GREENBULB COMMUNICATIONS.
Vicente Manansala - Untitled, 1967; Watercolor; 30 x 40 cm (12 x 16 in)
Photo by GREENBULB COMMUNICATIONS.

Beyond the art, an eclectic collection of other remarkable items, including a 77.10 tcw diamond bib necklace set in 18k white gold, a rare Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A, and the 70th anniversary McIntosh Commemorative System—one of just 70 worldwide, and the only one in the Philippines.

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Photo by GREENBULB COMMUNICATIONS.
Photo by GREENBULB COMMUNICATIONS.

The 109-lot auction is expected to fetch a tidy sum, given the stunning items on the block, but more than that, Salcedo Auctions' director Richie Lerma hopes bidders are instilled with a renewed vigor for charity.

When Lerma and his partners founded Salcedo Auctions nearly 10 years ago, public auctions were few and far between in the local art scene. As word spread of their efforts, and of the items they offered for bidding, several other auction houses popped up to address an exploding demand.

Salcedo Auctions itself had to expand, forming a subsidiary auction house in Gavel & Block to address the clamor for more contemporary pieces and collectibles. And while it hosts four to five auctions each year, Gavel & Block sets aside one show for Benefit, an auction where all its commissions go to charity.

“Sometimes, it's easier to just issue a check, et cetera, but I think there's something to be said about putting something like this together, which takes time and effort—and the very public nature of it, as well,” says Lerma. “It sounds almost blasé, but it is what it is. You need to be able to exercise that public show of giving back, so that others may follow suit.”

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After raising P3.5M for the Vicky Sycip Herrera Scholarship Foundation via International School Manila last year, Gavel & Block has partnered with Sheila Romero’s IWantToShare Foundation for the 2019 Benefit. Proceeds from the auction will go to support the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Department of the Philippine General Hospital, allowing childhood cancer patients to gain access to much-needed treatment and equipment.

With roughly 57 percent of cancer-related spending being paid out of the patients’ pockets, any help generated from Benefit’s proceeds would have a significant impact in saving lives. The 2014 Cancer Control report identified a lack of funding and access as the key points for improvement in treating childhood cancer in the Philippines—a need that both Gavel & Block and the IWantToShare Foundation hope to address.

While some of the items up for bidding at Benefit will donate a portion of their sales to IWantToShare, a good number of the lots—such as custom gowns by Mark Bumgarner and Francis Libiran—are direct donations; all proceeds from their sale will go directly to the foundation. As for Gavel & Block, it will not take any commissions.

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“We don’t earn a cent,” Lerma shares. “Buyer's premium and VAT, all of it goes to IWantToShare. That's in addition to our space, my auctioneering, everything.”

When art auctions make a conscious effort to promote social good in myriad ways, the art community itself finds the drive to help in equally myriad fashions. For Lerma, Romero, and all of Benefit’s other partners, that drive may be the most valuable treasure one can take home.

Gavel & Block’s 2019 “Benefit” auction happens on July 20, 2019, starting at 2 p.m. The live auction will be held at Salcedo Auctions in NEX Tower, 6786 Ayala Avenue, Makati City. Absentee bid forms are available at salcedoauctions.com/buying-sellng. For inquiries, contact (+632) 823-0956 or (+63917) 894-6550.

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Marco Sumayao
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