Salcedo Stories

A Masterpiece Crafted in Friendship

A Masterpiece Crafted in Friendship

  • 9 September 2023
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Anita Magsaysay-Ho in her studio (‘Anita Magsaysay-Ho: A Retrospective,’ 1988)

This captivating oil on canvas by one of Asia’s most respected modernist masters showing four women carrying baskets is pure sophistication and dignified elegance. Anita Magsaysay-Ho’s distinct artistic style is evident in the way she captures the essence of her subjects, infusing them with a sense of grace, strength, and vulnerability. The muted earth colors and details of the painting whisper, yet by its very subtlety draws the viewer’s attention, creating a richly layered visual experience.

A valuable aspect of this artwork lies in its sterling provenance, showing the personal connection between Magsaysay-Ho and the artwork’s original owner. This painting holds a special place in the artist’s oeuvre as it was personally gifted by the artist to Cesar Jacinto Lomotan, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of the Philippines. The Lomotans, a distinguished family from Malolos, Bulacan, and the artist’s family were neighbors in Wack-Wack Village, an exclusive Manila enclave. Their deep bond of friendship adds a further layer of significance to this masterpiece. A descendant of Lomotan intimated that the artist, on entering the home of the Deputy Governor, specifically pointed to a wall that she ‘reserved’ for a painting that she would be making especially for him. Thus, the painting not only symbolizes the artist’s affection for the Lomotan family, but more importantly serves as a testament to the power of art in forging and enriching cherished relationships.

(Left) Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of the Philippines Cesar Jacinto Lomotan and his wife Fe Roque Lomotan. (Right) The artwork as shown at home in a group picture. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the family only has a few photographs of their history left. Photos of the family with the artist, unfortunately, were not preserved. (Photos courtesy of the Lomotan family)

In Untitled (Women with Baskets), Magsaysay-Ho skillfully captures a moment of everyday life, celebrating the strength and resilience of these women who appear to be working in a field. The baskets they carry might be seen to hold more than the day’s harvest; they could also be metaphors for the burdens and responsibilities that women often carry in their lives.

Magsaysay-Ho’s portrayal goes beyond mere representation, delving into the emotional and psychological dimensions of her subjects. The women’s expressions and body language hint at a shared camaraderie and a unifying sense of purpose, inviting viewers to contemplate the rich and compelling stories that lay behind their gentle eyes.

Anita Magsaysay-Ho’s ‘Untitled (Women with Baskets)’ displayed at Salcedo Auctions’ gallery for ‘The Well-Appointed Life’ live and online auction. On the left are masterpieces by Constancio Bernardo, while in the middle is an 18th century relief of San Juan Evangelista.

The Well-Appointed Life live and online auction takes place on 16 September 2023 at 2PM. Preview runs from Thursday September 8 to Friday September 15 at the Salcedo Auctions, NEX Tower 6786 Ayala Avenue, Makati City. The gallery is open on Tuesdays to Fridays, 9AM-6PM and Saturdays, 9AM-4PM.

Register to bid for the upcoming The Well-Appointed Life September edition. Download the eCatalogue via this link.