Leon Gallery wishes to thank Ms. Doris Magsaysay-Ho for confirming the authenticity of this lot


Provenance: Claude Tayag’s brother, Lito Tayag, informed him around 1995 that Juan Luis Galatas, Lito’s Filipino-Spanish close friend from Madrid, is selling their family’s Juan Luna painting. Arriving in Madrid to buy the said painting, José Mari Galatas, the uncle of Juan Luis, also sold his Anita Magsaysay-Ho painting, which was, according to him, won in a raffle that took place in a Spanish club in Manila in the late 1950s. Lito Tayag is married to Tessa Marquez whose father, Manuel Marquez, was the Commercial Bank and Trust Company (Comtrust) founder. Manuel Marquez is a longtime friend of Filipino-Spanish Manolo Galatas, the owner of the Metro Drug Company and also a shareholder in Comtrust. The two’s close friendship is beyond business dealings. In Lito and Tessa’s wedding, Don Manolo was the ninong, and he sold his house in San Lorenzo Village to the newlyweds during the 1970s before repatriating back to Spain with the whole Galatas family. Juan Luis, Manolo Galatas’s son, has also become Lito’s long-time friend. Juan Luis’s roots is in Iloilo City. Felipe Díez, his Spanish great-grandfather from San Sebastian, came to the Philippines to work with the colonial government in the said city. He married Engracia Tolentino y Mercado, a Bulaqueña from Guiguinto. Juan Luis’s father was also born in Iloilo but studied high school in San Sebastian. Returning to the city later on, he worked in Botica Boie, an American company in Panay and Negros. After the Japanese Occupation, Don Manolo acquired the Metro Drug Corp., a pharmacy in Avenida Rizal, Manila. Focusing on Metro Drug, he resigned from Botica Boie. Around that time, he met Manuel Marquez who was then working at the Philippine National Bank (PNB) and was a great help to him. Metro Drug became one of the two most important distributors of pharmaceutics in the Philippines, progressing through the years. After Manuel Marquez left PNB and founded Comtrust, Don Manolo became a shareholder for many years. In 1987, Metro Drug was sold to the Indonesian group MVP’s Salim. The only female member of the Thirteen Moderns, the outstanding group of Filipino Modernists, Social Realist and Post-Cubist Anita Magsaysay-Ho is widely considered one of the greatest Filipina artists best known for her paintings of Philippine themes and Filipino women. In an interview, Anita Magsaysay-Ho acknowledged that her paintings are enriched by her childhood memories of summer vacations in her native Zambales province. More than observing rural life, she went fishing with her mother, pulled fishing nets with her brother, and played with fellow children on the farm. She also watched peasant women and their gestures and tried mending fishing nets and pounding rice. Magsaysay-Ho cherished these memories and it shows in her paintings. These experiences—vivid details of observations and active participations in the provincial life—were rendered in the canvases throughout her artistic life with bold brushwork, dark and light tone contrasts, and graceful lines. Her works in the Seventies also have certain features influenced by Chinese calligraphy. Filipino women, especially women at work, are celebrated in Magsaysay-Ho’s paintings. She frequently portrays their everyday life and culture. This early work is distinguished by the presence of a father and son — in her otherwise predominantly female universe. Mother and daughter are joined by ‘Ama’ (Father) holding a prized rooster while ‘Bunso’ (Youngest Son) looks on. Magsaysay-Ho’s spontaneous brush strokes and choice of cool and warm hues show a distinct perspective on a folk theme. The figures of barrio folk are masterfully depicted in their gestural motions. She has accentuated stylized visual rhythms in her idealized depiction of the nipa huts, trees, and chickens as well as this tableau of Filipino rural life.