That Massive Borlongan Just Sold for a Record-Breaking P17.5 Million
If you’re going by the weekend sale of that massive mural-style Elmer Borlongan painting and other notable artworks and pieces, then you can say that the want—the need!—for beautiful things is alive and well in Manila.
At Salcedo Auction’s Important Philippine Art & Furniture sale, the 13-by-14-feet painting, an untitled piece whose original owner is cultural icon Gilda Cordero-Fernando, was sold for P17,520,000. The figure is the highest-ever price for the contemporary artist’s works. (Side note: Its new owner now has the pleasant problem of finding the perfect place—a very large wall?—to display the hidden meanings of Borlongan’s fantastical scene with a bald man adorned with an eight-pointed flower-star on his nether regions.)
Untitled by Elmer Borlongan
Another highlight was the auction’s top lot, a 1949 oil-on-canvas work by master Fernando Amorsolo. His “Planting Rice” reached P30,368,000, which, Salcedo notes, is “a new world record for a postwar work by the artist.” A similarly sized 1951 Amorsolo was sold at Christie’s in 2018 for P25.9 million.
'Planting Rice' by Fernando Amorsolo
An interesting lot that performed well was this 2017 oil-on-wood piece by Ronald Ventura. Salcedo reports that “Territorial Terror,” which features a jaw-dropping image of the crucifix joined by the logo of hype brand Supreme, garnered “a steady stream of bids,” which led to its P12,848,000 hammer price. That’s four times the lot’s estimate and also a feat for its diminutive size of 36 x 21 inches.
'Territorial Terror' by Ronald Ventura
A curio that surprisingly did well was a carabao, specifically this 1970 marble carabao sculpture by Napoleon Abueva, “which, after a heated exchange of online and phone bids, sold for almost 10 times its estimate at a whopping P2,336,000.” For the 15-inch-long sculpture, the price also sets a world record an Abueva.
Marble carabao sculpture by Napoleon Abueva
The lively weekend auction celebrates 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines with a stellar lineup of artwork and furniture from the pre-colonial, Hispano-Filipino, modern, and contemporary eras. The lots included, among others, a “San Rafael” aparador, an Ifugao king bulol, a Rococo tabernacle, and a rare original copy of the 1935 Constitution from the Eulogio Balan Rodriguez collection. The document, which was signed by 192 delegates, including Claro M. Recto and Presidents Laurel, Roxas, and Quirino, sold for P2,219,200.
Signed 1935 Constitution