The Magnificent September Auction 2019

September 14,2019 | 02:00 PM
G/F Eurovilla 1, Rufino corner Legazpi Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City, Philippines



71 |

Fernando Amorsolo   (1892-1972)

The Filipino Family
signed and dated 1961 (lower right)
oil on canvas
22” x 28” (56 cm x 71 cm)

PHP 2,000,000

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Provenance: Private Collection, Manila

          This work of art demonstrates how Amorsolo would use artistic, even cinematic license in the creation of a scene.  Romance and love for the bucolic are embodied in this canvas that can aptly be described as painted poetry.

          This painting figures in a Philippine setting and has a rich and  expansive, yet subtle detail of environment and costume.  The choice of color palette fairly pulsed with the spectrum by which Amorsolo sought to capture that shimmering world of light.  As twilight ushers in the evening, a spirited fisherman and his family calls it a day’s work in the sea.  He employs a dramatically tinted sky with which to silhouette the rustically costumed figures.  The dense cloud formations could have dwarfed the main figures if not for the balance of scale that Amorsolo gives the entire scene. 

          Like many masters, Amorsolo found a formula which, once  established, he never fundamentally changed, and its variations  are so clever.  The sloping salakot of the husband finds another manifestation as a curved salakot in some other magnificent  version.  The fishing boat is a mainstay in both versions.

          There is a monumental grandeur about the simple couple which  imprints itself on the viewer’s mind just as forcefully as the epic and  heroic canvases of traditional academic painting; yet the figures are in no way glorified but the whole scene is imbued with a golden sunset light. This was the kind of scene that appealed to Amorsolo’s romantic side and he made the most of it in this picture.  Since, the sea had  a prominent place in Amorsolo’s, it is not surprising that he painted  it several times.

          Amorsolo’s technique and skill of capturing the drama and changing light are evident in the famed artist’s response to a sunset over the  seashore.  The Classical Master seems to pronounce that seashore  painting is air painting, revealing an importance that he placed on the subtleties of colored light and atmosphere.  Even the sky also has  a splendour that enhances the whole picture. 

          The handling of the paint is lovely and the atmosphere full of the feeling that Amorsolo considered so important in the rendering of seascapes.  He looked on nature with a calm  and tranquil mind, seeing in its works a vast and serene progress rather than a series of dramatic events.

          He was the first Filipino painter to finally step out of the studio to look at the outdoors under a real sunset, and it was vibrantly different; even the shadows cast by people are so much richer.  His works, his dreams of a radiant and serene countryscapes governed by tenderness and kindness. The sentiment of nature was an essential ingredient in Amorsolo’s work  and the one which sets him from painters of nature before him and the artists who followed him.


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