Art collectors and connoisseurs witnessed another world record at “Important Philippine Art” auction last September 21 in The Peninsula Manila. Salcedo Auctions brought together works of great masters like Félix Resurrección Hidalgo. His intriguing 1890s oil on canvas was the much-awaited piece in the bidding room. “La Pintura” was sold for a total of P78 million, a record-breaking sale for the artist.
A gripping auction
With four contenders over the phone, the bidding started at P18M. Anticipation grew heavy in the air as the price went up to P50M with three contenders. After a few minutes of muted reactions among the crowd, “La Pintura” was sold at a hammer price of P67M. It broke the record of Hidalgo’s work “Pareja de jóvenes tagalos ante un rio” (Young Tagalog Couple Before a River) sold in Madrid last October 2018 for a hammer price of P51M.
“La Pintura” was the highlight of The Well-Appointed Life exhibit because of its captivating beauty and intriguing history. Don Jose Vazquez Castiñeira from Spain was the original owner of the painting. It only arrived in the country after 130 years. People theorize the female subject is Nelly Boustead. She may be a possible muse of Hidalgo but the true identity of the woman remains a beautiful mystery.
There may not be much sensation with Hidalgo like other great masters. Yet his works prove he pursued a life of beauty and excellence. His legacy as an artist will remain, especially with the noble quality of his pieces that last for more than a century.