Arts & Culture

This Manila-Based Artist Painted Portraits of the Spanish Royal Family

In time for her 90th birthday, Spanish artist Betsy Westendorp's art is immortalized in a two-volume book.

The Spanish artist Betsy Westendorp recently celebrated her 90th birthday, an
occasion made even more special with the launch of a two-volume coffee table
book from the De La Salle University Publishing House. With Westendorp’s painting career spanning more than half a century, there was a lot of ground to cover in the set, believed to be the most comprehensive account of the artist’s life to date.

Raymundo Suplido with Betsey Westendorp

A young Westendorp with Jackie Onassis


In describing the book, which contains more than 200 photographs of Westendorp’s art, publisher David Jonathan Bayot notes that it presents readers the “rare opportunity to appreciate the range of the artist’s work—portraits, landscapes, Madrid cityscapes, flowers, atmosferografias, barong-barongs, and sea life. It also contains sections devoted to narratives—in words and images—on the artist and her milieu.” Complementing the stunning visuals are insights into the artist’s life and work provided by noted art critic Cid Reyes (in English) and Elena Florez (in Spanish, with an English translation provided by the late Isabel Brias Westendorp, the artist’s eldest daughter).

A tender portrait of Betsy Westendorp’s daughter Isabel and her grandson Ian

A portrait of HRH Queen Sofia of Spain

Betsey painting a portrait of the Spanish royal children, also known as the Infantes de Espana

The project, initiated by book editor Rita Ledesma with the approval of Raymundo Suplido FSC, president of De La Salle University, took a year and a half to complete. Also instrumental in bringing the book to life were the Spanish graphic artist Iñigo Cerdán, project director Alessandra Gonzalez, and photographer Benigno T. Toda III.


A work from the artist's own collection

A painting from the private collection of former President Fidel V. Ramos

To order, contact De La Salle University Publishing House at 523.4281 or 524.4611 ext. 271; [email protected]

This story was originally published in the May 2018 issue of Town&Country Philippines.

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Pierre A. Calasanz
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