Arts & Culture

Joya Painting Breaks Record Auction Price of P112 Million

The sale by León Gallery benefited the Asian Cultural Council Philippines Foundation, Inc.
IMAGE COURTESY LEON GALLERY
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On a historic afternoon at León Gallery, Space Transfiguration, Philippine National Artist José T. Joya’s most celebrated work was sold for P96 million or P112 million (including buyer’s premium). The sale sets the record for highest price ever paid for art at a Philippine auction as well as the world record for the most expensive Philippine modern art in the world.


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Space Transfiguration by José T. Joya

The Joya was sold during León Gallery’s fundraising campaign for the Asian Cultural Council. Through the auction, the ACC’s Philippine Fellowship Program will be able to hand out grants to study in the U.S. to numerous artists and scholars.

The sale took a total of 20 minutes, and started from a base bid of P22 million. It was ultimately sold at the hammer price of P96 million to an anonymous client on the phone. Previously, the record for most expensive painting ever sold at auction was held by Ang Kiukok’s The Fisherman which sold for P65,408,000 in June 2017.

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Joya’s Space Transfiguration (1959), painted when the artist was 29 years old, has been widely regarded as the artist’s masterpiece. It has been exhibited in museums locally and abroad, and has appeared in books and other publications. The National Artist was the first artist to be granted a scholarship, by the then-Ford Foundation, a precursor to the ACC.

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According to a post by León Gallery, “No other work by Jose Joya has been more talked and written about, iconized, and celebrated, as well as exhibited in museums both in the Philippines and abroad than the magnificent “Space Transfiguration.” The post continues, “It was Joya’s most favorite piece and the one work he refused to part with. It was passed on to his beloved sister Josie J. Baldovino.”


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Tahip by Anita Magsaysay-Ho


One of the letters penned by Andres Bonifacio

Other items include works by masters Ang Kiukok, Mauro Malang Santos, Vicente Manansala, Fernando Amorsolo, and Fernando Zobel as well as three letters penned by Andres Bonifacio and a 32-inch ivory crucifix dated from the 17th-century. Magsaysay-Ho’s Tahip had a starting bid of P18 million and sold for P30 million, while the three Andres Bonifacio letters were sold for P1.8 million, P1.7 million, P4.8 million respectively.

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Source: ABS-CBN News

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