signed 'F. Amorsolo' (lower right)
oil on canvas
50 x 67 cm. (19 5/8 x 25 5/8 in.)
Painted circa 1940
Private Collection, California, USA

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Lot Essay

Capturing the luminous tropical sunlight of the Philippine landscape, Fernando Cueto Amorsolo is the undisputed master of the romantic landscape genre. The brilliant quality of Amorsolo's colors evoke the textural details in his paintings, such as the rippling rice fields or golden bursts of sunsets above the horizon. Amorsolo selects splendidly backlit subjects, probing into the deepest shadows and finishing his compositions with a wash of sparkling light to accent contours where the backlighting fell. The final touch would be lively interaction between the figures, lending warmth and charm to the Philippine character archetypes; such as the beautiful muses, vigorous farmers, rice harvesters, mango growers, and cheerful family. A successor to the great classicists, Juan Luna, Felix Resurrecion Hidalgo, and his own uncle Fabian de la Rosa, Amorsolo portrays genre scenes that highlight the relationship between family, work and community. View of Manila Bay captures all the classic Amorsolo elements: a panoramic landscape depicting an idyllic beach setting, hardworking fisherfolk pulling their boats in at the day's end, and above all a glorious golden sunset bathing the land in rich, vibrant hues.

Banaue Rice Terraces is an exceptionally refined example of Amorsolo's tribal scenes. Relatively rarer within his oeuvre than the more prolific archetypes of farming or seaside tableaux, Amorsolo portrays the Ifugao tribes folk descending the rice terraces on their way into the local market in town. The vignette is at once charming and heartwarming, while also acutely conscious of the vanishing way of life of the tribes, reflecting Amorsolo's desire to preserve the indigenous Philippine culture that he knew intimately. Dated to 1940, this scene exemplifies Amorsolo's mastery in artistic technique particularly before World War II, considered to be the artist's golden years. The looming shade of the mountain range in the distance creates a perfect visual counterpoint for the warmth of the sun in the foreground of the painting, extending the pictorial depth to illustrate the vast and untamed beauty of the northern Philippine landscape.

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