Arts & Culture

The Gentleman's Pursuits Auction: Furnishing the Cultured Man's Den

Casa de Memoria invites guests to interact with its art.
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Auction houses may sometimes be thought of as stuffy institutions that sell art at exorbitant prices, welcoming only those of wealth and influence.

But Casa de Memoria doesn't subscribe to that. For starters, guests are invited to interact with the auction lots, and even sit on the furniture up for auction.

Proprietress Camille Lhuillier says that Casa would like to be accessible to everybody, and they succeed in that regard. Pieces are marked with date made, provenance, condition, and not much else.  

"We focus on things not because of the artist or the price tag but because we find them beautiful," says Lhuillier. "Art is an investment, so is one's enjoyment of a certain piece. That's an investment for emotional well being, and that's what we're looking toward."

For instance, at the recent Auction .0006: The Gentleman's Pursuits, Casa tapped creative consultant Miguel Rosales to curate the selection. "When people think of antiques, they think about really curly stuff—very traditional antiques. But I thought 'Hey, guys like antiques, too!' So we did something for the man cave," he says of the inspiration behind the theme. 

The range was so diverse that Rosales had his work cut out for him. What made it to the auction floor included art, taxidermy, crystals and ivory, luggage and miscellanea, most of which hailed from the 18th to the 19th century. Certainly a treat not only for men, but also those who enjoy the silently rough charm of masculine objets d'art.


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An item of clear interest was SUMO, a signed book by famed photographer Helmut Newton. Aptly named for its over 30-kilogram weight, it is the largest book to have been published in the millennium, and came with its own stand designed by Philippe Starck.



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Another was the pair of bronze sculptures by award-winning Spanish artist Miguel Ortiz Berrocal. Though sold separately, Romeo and Juliet and Torero looked wonderful side by side. Through the former is abstract and the latter figurative, both are puzzle sculptures, what Berrocal is best known for. These works were inspired by the artist's fascination with math, and can be disassembled into numerous small parts.


As is often the case, religious art is a popular category in Philippine society. A painting of the Dominican saint Padre Frei Miguel dos Santos was part of the collection, depicting the friar, in his robes, levitating as he venerates the altar. Above him are cherubs and behind him is an allusion to paradise, while the floor is littered with symbols of his undying devotion as a theologian. 

If you're starting to collect, or simply want a storied one-of-a-kind treasure, Casa de Memoria is a good place to start.

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Casa de Memoria will have its next auction on July 1.

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Vincent Ong
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