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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Vicente Manansala   (1910-1981)

Study for the Stained Glass Window in UP
signed and dated 1965 (lower left)
watercolor on paper
6”x 12 1/4” (15 cm x 31 cm)


PHP 180,000

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Provenance: Acquired directly from the artist

          With the nailed hands outstretched, and the divine head downcast, Christ in his dying moment wears a halo, but light literally radiates from behind the cross, the sky blues and the whites of heaven subtly contrasting with the light brown of the wood.  We may never know if Manansala had a stained glass window in mind but he realizes the entire design in watercolor.

          Cid Reyes once asked Manansala: “Isa hong medium na madalas ninyng gamitin ay watercolor, Hindi ho ba mahirap na medium ito para sa inyo?

          Manansala replied: “ Ah, yung watercolor e isa sa mga favorite medium ko. For relaxation.  At saka ang gusto ko sa watercolor, ha, it demands you to control it.  Gusto niya, kontrolin mo siya.  Mahirap kung ikaw ang pako-control.”

          Beth Day Romulo wrote that : “Manansala worked on watercolor, charcoal, oil and pastel.  He was a muralist and a sculptor, and samples of these forms can be seen in banks, hotels and boardrooms throughout Manila.” 

          Vicente Manansala consistently worked in the figurative mode, with the exception of a few abstract works.  While he consistently reinterpreted or indigenized cubism as he took his themes from the familiar Filipino environment, he also explored a wide repertoire of religious themes. This 1965, Study for the Stained Glass Window in UP served as the  prototype for the design of the stained glass window of the Church of Holy Sacrifice at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. 

          Manansala’s attitude to religious imagery seems to have been somewhat cavalier.  In dealing with Catholic imagery he treats the religious element essentially as a picturesque motif, a foil for his imagination, and was intrigued more by the outward forms of worship as the substance of  religious belief.  He could thus adapt to changes of circumstances by making minimal adjustments to his pictorial style.

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