The Most Valuable Works at Art Fair Philippines 2019
At times, some galleries stow their most priceless pieces away in their backrooms, usually for safekeeping or to be reserved for serious buyers (if you aren't one already).
But given the foot traffic and size of the annual Art Fair Philippines, galleries presumably bring out the best of the best from their collections. After all, collectors come to the fair in search of rare finds. Often, these works can be bought for a small fortune, somewhere upward of a million pesos.
T&C scoured the fair to find some of the most valuable works on offer this year.
Chemical Gilding, Keep Calm, Galvanise, Pray. Gradient, Ashes, Manifestation, Unequal, Dissatisfaction, Capitalise, Incense Burner, Survival, Agitation, Hit, Day Light (2018) by Chou Yu Cheng
Edouard Malingue Gallery
This Taiwanese visual artist used numerous layers of acrylic on canvas to create this gradient effect. It was inspired by his time here in Manila, particularly the colors of the metal rooftops and jeepneys. This large painting will set you back by $27,000, or approximately P1.4 million.
Brave by Nasser Lubay
Self-taught artist Nasser Lubay, who was present at the fair, tells a story through each of the characters and symbols that you may find in his paintings. This one follows a theme of "cosmic germination" and uses vibrant colors to tell his tale. He says that during the time he spent painting Brave, he put in texts and his own thoughts onto the canvas and eventually painted over it. It costs P2.6 million.
Flower Basket (1992) by Yayoi Kusama
This work worth P1.8 million possesses the distinct mark of the prolific Yayoi Kusama. It's a refreshing break from her usual subject—pumpkins.
Hand by Lao Lianben (2018)
On a wall of its own, this artwork by Lao Lianben impresses the mark of a human hand on a large canvas. It's valued at P5.3 million.
White Threads and Fibers on Pink Garment by Marina Cruz
Known for her extraordinary attention to detail, Marina Cruz's works have always been sought-after. She displays her expertise in replicating textiles with this work, which will set you back by $15,000, or around P783,000.
Cornflowers and Roses by Tsuguhari Foujita
When French-Japanese artist Leonard Tsuguharu Foujita passed away in 1968, demand for his work shot up. This could primarily be because of the artist’s success in the 1910s and his contribution to the art world, which led to his works being exhibited at renowned museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, or the National Gallery of Art in Washington. This work is priced at $125,000, or P6.5 million.
Hope (2018) by Oca Villamiel
One of the featured artists at the fair this year, Oca Villamiel is also represented by gallery ArtInformal. This large-scale piece was made from the feathers of the artist's own birds, which he used only when the feathers would molt naturally. It is priced at P2.4 million.
Coffee Cup (1988) by Yayoi Kusama
This work by Kusama is the 47th out of just 50 screenprints. Given its limited nature, it goes for $55,000, or approximately P2.8 million.
People on the Street by Fernando Botero
This is not the first time we’ve seen Botero’s works on display at Art Fair Philippines and we’ve all grown accustomed to seeing his signature fat figures (what is now known as “Boterismo”) at the annual event, but actually owning an original Botero can get very competitive. His works are sought-after by private collectors and museums around the world, which makes paintings like People on the Street a high-priced commodity. This one sells for $1.6 million, or P83.3 million.
Still Life I (2016) by Izumi Akiyama
Japanese artist Izumi Akiyama gives a whole new definition to still life etchings through her delicate pencil work on a white background. The ethereal objects look as if they are afloat, which she achieves through a shadowing technique. This piece is priced at P1.3 million.
Apex Species, Apex Moment. Before The Fall. Mother. (2018) by Ashley Bickerton
Inspired by his move from the United States to Bali, Indonesia, Ashley Bickerton radically changed his creative style to focus on hyper-realism. In this particular work, as with his others, layers mounds of paints onto a photograph to create a parody of what people in Western countries think island life is like. Bickerton's piece is currently selling for $216,000 or around P11.25 million.
8 Muses by Bencab
This particular work by National Artist Bencab merits a space of its own at the Secret Fresh booth. It was displayed in its own intimate area, with musical accompaniment to get the audience in a mood while viewing it. It comes with a price tag of P45 million.
Duterte Fly Effect by Alwin Reamillo
Reamillo, who has participated in international events such as the Venice Biennale, reuses piano parts as the base for his unconventional mixed media work. The artist has been known to make commentaries on what is going on in the political sphere through his art, hence the title of the work. This piece goes for P2 million.
Rooftop in Paris by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo
While the fair is dominated by contemporary art, there are rare times you stumble across the work by a master such as Hidalgo (left frame above). He had a series of paintings inspired by his time living abroad if you would remember his La Parisienne, which was the first Filipino artwork to be on the cover of a Sotheby’s catalog for its importance. This painting will set you back by P2.8 million.
Untitled by Joya, Legaspi, Ocampo, Roces, Samonte, Saprid
This collaborative piece by masters is priced at P9 million.
Gates of Hell by Anton del Castillo
This scene-stealer by Anton del Castillo may look like it’s part of the Galerie Stephanie booth but it’s really one of the artist’s works on sale for a cool $75,000 (around P3.9 million). The door is embellished with del Castillo’s unmistakable white sculptures with human subjects. You enter the doors and inside is a space filled with his work-life-size sculptures and paintings that use some of the artist’s favorite material—gold leaf.
Saeta 258 by Fernando Zobel
Zobel may have produced dozens of works in his time, several of which are titled Saeta, but each one is a unique display of the artist’s abstractionist style. He started working on the Saeta series in 1955 and Sotheby’s calls it a detrimental stage in his career as an artist as it defined his personal style. This blue piece sells for P30 million.