Portrait painting, particularly when done on commission, can often lead or force an artist to compromise with his true style and vision. But not for Federico Aguilar Alcuaz.
The portrait has a splendid presence without resorting to fashion effects. Even with Alcuaz’ use of bold, generalized strokes, especially on the shirt and face, there was nothing slapdash or characterless about the portrait; there is an imperious look in the subject’s eyes leaving us in no doubt of his well born roots.
Alcuaz’ portraits are an absolutely integral part of his total oeuvre, among them indeed are to be found some of his very best achievements. The uncompromising nature of his approach to portrait commissions is apparent from very early on.
Fedrico Aguilar Alcuaz took up Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines in 1949 and at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid. The latter was the Spanish Academy attended by a number of Filipino masters in the 19th and early 20th centuries, such as Juan Luna, Hidalgo, de la Rosa, and Amorsolo.