Arts & Culture

14 of the Most Expensive Paintings Auctioned in the Philippines

Masterpiece collectors break auction world records.
IMAGE COURTESY OF LEON GALLERY; PEXELS
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When an unidentified buyer paid $2.2 million for José Joya’s iconic work Space Transfiguration at a recent auction of León Gallery in Manila, it was proven that some of the highest prices for works of art take place on the auction block. 

Here are 14 of the Most Expensive Paintings Auctioned in the Philippines as of June 2018, based on the online auction monitor, ArtPrice.com. (All figures include the buyer’s premium. Prices provided by the auction houses.)

1. José Joya, Space Transfiguration


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Sold at The Asian Cultural Council Auction 2018 for P112,128,000 at León Gallery; a world record for the artist and world record for Philippine modern art.

2. Ang Kiukok, Fishermen


Sold at the Spectacular Mid-Year Auction 2017 for P65,408,000 at León Gallery; a world record for the artist.

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3. Anita Magsaysay-Ho, Fish Harvest at Dawn


Sold at the Spectacular Mid-Year Auction 2015 for P52,560,000 at León Gallery.

4. Anita Magsaysay-Ho, Women Amidst Bananas


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Sold at the Magnificent September Auction 2017 for P49,056,000 at León Gallery.

5. Fernando Amorsolo, The Perracamps Amorsolo (Under the Mango Tree)


Sold at the Spectacular Mid Year Auction 2018 for P46,720,000, at León Gallery; a world record for the artist.

6. Benedicto Cabrera (BenCab), Sabel


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Sold at the Magnificent September Auction 2015 for P46,720,000 at León Gallery; a world record for the artist.

7. Juan Luna, A Do...Va La Nave (There Goes the Ship)

Sold at Important Philippine Art 2015 for P46,720,000 at Salcedo Auctions.

8. Félix Resurección Hidalgo, La Inocencia (Innocence)


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Sold at the Kingly Treasures Auction 2016 for P40,880,000 at León Gallery; a world record for the artist.

9. Anita Magsaysay-Ho, Lavanderas (The Washerwomen)


Sold at the Magnificent September Auction 2015 for P39,712,000 at León Gallery.

10. Benedicto Cabrera (BenCab), Isadora in Motion


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Sold at the Magnificent September Auction 2016 for P37,376,000 at León Gallery.

11. H.R. Ocampo, Pagoda

Posted by Salcedo Auctions on Monday, March 9, 2015

Sold at the Important Philippine Art Auction 2015 for P36,208,000 at Salcedo Auctions.

12. Anita Magsaysay-Ho, The Many Colors of San Francisco

Sold at the Important Philippine Art Auction 2017 for P36.2 million at Salcedo Auctions

13. Vicente Manansala, Market Vendors


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Sold at the Kingly Treasures Auction 2017 for P32,704,000 at León Gallery; a world record for the artist.

14. Fernando Zóbel, Garden Window with a Trumpet


Sold at the special sale of the Jim and Reed Pfeufer Collection in 2015 for P32,704,000 at León Gallery.

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INTO THE COLLECTORS' FAVORITES

José Joya, at Number One as of June 2018, painted Space Transfiguration in 1959 when he was 28 years old, having just returned from New York City, Abstract Expressionism’s ground zero.

Joya was also the first to represent the Philippines at the Venice Biennale of 1964 (alongside Napoleon Abueva) and subsequently, was the first painter to be given a Rockefeller Foundation grant, all in his 30s.

Space Transfiguration was the piece that had masterpiece collectors—those who only purchase only the best works of the best-known artists—flock to the auction.

The Joya work represents not only the highest price paid for the artist, but for a work of abstract art in the Philippines. It's been recognized as one of the most iconic and recognized works by a Modernist Filipino. Being the most exhibited and most published work of the artist, the sale also put the work on the pedestal as one of the best of Philippine art.

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Joya broke the records held previously by collectors’ favorites Anita Magsaysay-Ho, Ang Kiukok, and BenCab.

Magsaysay-Ho’s lyrical women dominated the list nevertheless with three entries, reflecting the strong demand for her artworks not only from Filipino but also from Southeast Asian collectors, a tribute to her indisputable international appeal.

Ang Kiukok’s Fishermen and BenCab’s Sabel established new World Records for both Artists.

Nineteenth-century works by Juan Luna and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo were likewise represented on the list, with Hidalgo’s La Inocencia, fetching a world record for the artist.

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Philip Abadicio
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