Last week, we stumbled across an Instagram post by New York-based Filipino artist Jevijoe Vitug featuring a painting of him appearing next to an HR Ocampo at a collector’s ancestral home. Unfortunately, he said, people in the United States are not very familiar with the works of the “Modernist master” who at one point in an article on human resources ended up in an episode of “Antiques Roadshow. “.
Of course, we were intrigued by how the painting ranked in the popular program. Jevijoe posted a clip of the episode, the full clip of which is on the PBS website. It aired in December 2014, seven years ago, during the show’s 18th season. For those unfamiliar with ‘Antiques Roadshow’, this is where people have the shock of a lifetime when it is revealed that an item they bought at a flea market or discovered in their attic. is just, well, junk – or a treasure worth thousands of dollars, thanks to an expert appraisal on the spot (there’s a hilarious âWill & Graceâ episode about it that you can watch on Netflix).
In the case of the episode featuring the HR article, the reviewer was Aaron Bastian, described on the PBS website as “the senior specialist in Californian and American paintings at Bonhams & Butterfields in San Francisco,” and was trained as a cataloguer of both. American and European paintings.
In the Antiques Roadshow clip, Bastian is shown talking to an Asian American man who brought with him a painting by Hernando R. Ocampo, signed and dated 1977. It’s in the familiar HR style that shows puzzle-like shapes in different color tones. , which characterize many of the artist’s works.
The guy who owns the painting, wearing a plaid shirt, brown shorts, and glasses, says he bought the part at a garage sale. He and his wife had just bought a new home, he told Bastian, and they were driving around one day and spotted the sale. The guy was sort of drawn to the HR job which he said was even covered in dirt when he first laid eyes on it. âHey honey, let’s look at the painting,â he told his wife, who immediately thought the HR paint was one of the ânot-so-beautiful paintingsâ on sale. Apparently, even the saleswoman didn’t give much importance to the artwork: she sold it for a dollar.
The man even remembered the wind that knocked over the painting and how, while falling, it suffered some small damage – but the man nonetheless picked it up and brought it home for, yes, a dollar. Intrigued by the name on the canvas, the buyer searched for it online and found “he is a national painter in the Philippines”.
He will learn more from Bastian during the âAntiques Roadshowâ.
âThe painting is signed and dated 1977, and it is by Hernando Ocampo. He passed away in 1978, so it’s quite late for his job, âsaid the assessor. Bastian said that while most painters find themselves at the peak of their careers during their early years, it was interesting to note that the opposite is true in the case of HR. He added that HR started as a serious painter in 1938 and was part of a group called “13 Modernists” – or 13 Moderns to be correct about that. They were a stellar group of modern Filipino painters who distinguished themselves from the classic painting styles and conventions of the pre-war era. This group included Botong Francisco, Cesar Legaspi, Vicente Manansala and Anita Magsaysay-Ho.
âAnd his work has changed completely over the course of his life,â added Bastian, addressing the owner of the painting. “You have probably heard of Amorsolo who is the most famous of the Filipino painters,” said Bastian before discussing the influence of the Filipino master on the work of the young HR
âAnd then in 1968 it was in that kind of format,â Bastian said, describing the style of the painting in question, âwhich is abstract but inspired by the flora and fauna of the Philippines, that sort of tonally unified approach. The painting is done in oils on canvas and it is quite typical for the size he made with his last works.
Then the discussions finally turned to the price. âWhat’s interesting about this work is that locally, at auction, I think right now, in 2013, you would have an estimate of $ 4-6,000. [for the painting] but quite interesting, and it wouldn’t be too complicated, if you take it to Hong Kong, where the market really is, you would be worth $ 7-10,000.
When Bastian said $ 4 to $ 6,000, the owner of the painting just made a “Mmm” sound. But when told the work could sell for between $ 7 and $ 10,000, the man said, “Wow, fantastic,” before putting on a dazzling smile.
Of course, an HR Ocampo painting can sell for more these days, it all depends on the rarity, beauty, condition and provenance of the work of art. An HR, in fact, dated 1964, just sold for P 45.5million over the weekend at the Leon Gallery’s Kingly Treasures auction, while a work closer to the style of the painting in “Antiques Roadshow” can cost around half a million pesos. .
Meanwhile, Americans should have a better idea of ââwho HR Ocampo is from now on, given that the national artist is part of the flagship “Surrealism: Beyond Borders” exhibition underway at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. York. HR is represented by a work from the personal collection of leading taste designers Paulino and Hetty Que. The show, which opened in October and will run until the end of January 2022, traces the history of the surrealist movement and its repercussions in 45 countries.