The Magnificent September Auction 2019

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

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The Elpidio Quirino Desk
1920s
Narra
32” x 71” x 41” (81 cm x 180 cm x 104 cm)


PHP 500,000

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Provenance: Heirs of President Elpidio Quirino

          This large desk is an example of fine Filipino furniture work from  the prewar era, when beautiful and mature woods like "narra,"  "tindalo" / "balayong," and "molave" were still plentiful, available  in large dimensions, and there was no lack of expert craftsmen.   

          An enlarged version of an 18th century French "bureau plat,"  it is meant to be used by a person of consequence, with its large writing surface and 5 commodious drawers.  In classical French style, it is embellished with acanthus leaves in key points.  It stands on 4 cabriole legs with "pied – de – bouche" feet.         

          Elpidio Rivera Quirino was the 6th President of the Philippines from 1948 – 53.  He assumed the presidency when his predecessor  President Manuel Roxas suddenly passed away of a heart attack.   He won a full term as President during the 1949 elections and his running mate Fernando Hofilena Lopez became Vice – President. 

          President Quirino announced that the 2 main objectives of his  administration would be: 1)  the economic reconstruction of the  nation and 2) the restoration of the faith and confidence of the  Filipino people in their government.

          The Quirino presidency was marked by accelerated reconstruction postwar, a general improvement of the economy, and additional financial assistance from the United States of America.   

          However, there were major problems during the Quirino  administration.  The Hukbalahap movement originally of guerrillas fighting the Japanese enemy  during the war had grown and had frankly turned into a major Communist insurgency.  There were matters of economic distress, social justice, agrarian reform, political integrity.  To add to all the domestic problems, the Korean War had broken out.    

          22 August 1953.  Ramon Magsaysay defeated Elpidio R Quirino for President of the Philippines with a majority vote of PHP 1.5 million.  Quirino retreated to private life at his home in Novaliches.  He passed away from a heart attack on 29 February 1956 and was interred at the South Cemetery in Makati.  60 years later, Quirino's remains were reinterred at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in BGC on 29 February 2016.    

          On hindsight, Elpidio R Quirino was a good President of the  Philippines, with many progressive events during his administration.  Archival and statistical evidence clearly show that he was not the crooked, corrupt criminal of urban legend.  Instead, he was a  gentleman of the old order.

-Augusto Marcelino Reyes Gonzalez III

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