Lost and Found: A Hidalgo Painting That Was Last Seen Almost 100 Years Ago Depicts Hope Amid Challenges - Lifestyle Asia

The ‘mesmerizing’ seascape is the highlight at Salcedo Auctions’ Well-Appointed Life, with bidding starting at P8,000,000.

Salcedo Auctions’ most important sale of the year—The Well-Appointed Life—is back. This time, the auction house is taking us into the worlds we create.

READ ALSO: The Last Goodbye: Art At An Auction After A Loss

“This auction is about our spheres of influence,” Salcedo Auctions chairman and chief specialist Richie Lerma tells Lifestyle Asia. “It’s about the means by which the audience of Salcedo Auctions [can have a] well-appointed life in the face of all the challenges presented to us, particularly the pandemic that has left us all powerless and has driven us indoors. It allows us to take control over our own lives and our own dwelling spaces that we have a hand in.”

The auction on September 18 is set to put up for sale a total of 380 pieces—250 in the Connoisseur Collection featuring rare and valuable collectibles that redefine our personal spaces such as furniture, decor, books, maps, among others, and 130 under Important Philippine Art. 

Hidalgo highlight

Among all these pieces, however, it’s a Felix Hidalgo oil on canvas painting from the 1900 called “Marina.”

The existence of the painting was practically unknown until it resurfaced two years ago. Lerma says the last recorded sighting of the work was at a French auction in 1926, when it was bought by a Spanish collector.

Through Salcedo Auctions’ research, Lerma and the team retrieved the receipt of the purchase and also found out that the same auction house in Paris has been in existence since the 1800s.

“This means that perhaps they had heard of, known, or come across the works of Hidalgo enough, such that by the 1920s, they were more than happy to carry his works at an auction,” he says.

“Study for Detail of ‘La Barca de Aqueronte,'” by Félix Resurrecion Hidalgo (undated)

The Spanish collector, a lady, held onto the 32 by 39.5-inch painting until the 1950s before selling it to another family in Spain.

It’s only one of the many collectibles to be presented for bidding, with works by national artists like Fernando Amorsolo, Jose Joya, and Hernando R. Ocampo, to name a few, also in the lineup. However, it’s “mesmerizing” beauty, as Lerma puts it, and meaning that remains relevant even today that makes it truly exceptional.

“Last Supper,” Carlos ‘Botong’ Francisco (1962)

Set in a beautifully, gilded frame, the painting is a seascape showing strong waves slapping on a jagged coastline along with the seafoam it creates, all under a lavender sky where a hopeful ray of light streams through the clouds.

“We thought this was the perfect painting to come to us at this point in time because it’s a wonderful visual metaphor for where we are all at today,” says Lerma, who considers Marina as a personal favorite. “The sea represents life as we see it, the storms stand for how we go through its challenges that cast us onto shore, but that at the same time, at the end of the chaos, there is light.”

“Blue Harbour,” by Jose Joya (1966)

This, according to him, is the world that Hidalgo creates, “one that invites us in.”

“It’s also something that we invite everybody to bid on and bring into their homes and perhaps, share in that hope of Hidalgo and to create new worlds of their own,” he says.

“Autumnal Flower,” by Federico Aguilar Alcuaz (1962)

Open for bids

Though this year’s The Well-Appointed Life is primarily online—one of the 16 digital auctions already mounted by the auction house—Salcedo Auctions has provided many ways for interested buyers to join the sale.

“Live auctions are still on, but it will depend on the government quarantine restrictions. If they want to schedule an appointment, they can,” says Victor Silvino, managing director. “They can certainly walk in any time at the NEX Tower back lobby in Makati. It is large enough that they can social distance come auction day and we will be guided by what is allowed in terms of the number of people that can be on the floor.”

Other works in this year’s show include ones by Federica Aguinlar Alcuaz, Carlos “Botong” Francisco, and Jose Joya. Hidalgo’s “Study for Detail of ‘La Barca de Aqueronte” is also part of the lineup.

Participants can also submit absentee or telephone bids ahead of time. But the auction house’s online portal, salcedoauctions.com, is the website to visit for anything that participants need or wish to do regarding the sale.

Crucifixion Tableau in a Virina and Arch (19th century)

“If they’d like to register, leave bids, or to be instructed how to go about doing these, the catalogue in the portal allows that. If they’re more comfortable to be contacted to do telephone bids, we can also do that,” Silvino adds. “We are at everybody’s disposal to be able to assist with that.”

The Well-Appointed Life #TheWorldsWeCreate live and online auction is on Saturday, September 18, with the sales happening at 11 AM for the ‘Connoisseur Collection’ and 2 P.M. for the ‘Important Philippine Art.’

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