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Fernando Cueto Amorsolo (1892-1972)
Harvest
signed and dated ‘F. Amorsolo, 1930’ (lower left)
oil on board
38 x 55 cm. (15 x 21 5/8 in.)
Painted in 1930
Provenance
Private Collection, Singapore
Literature
Fernando C. Amorsolo Art Foundation, INC., Amorsolo: Love & Passion Volume II: Landscapes and Other Works, Manilla, Phillippines, 2017 (illustrated, on the front cover and p. 91).

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Lot Essay

Fernando Amorsolo is widely recognized as the foremost artist of 20th Century painting within the Philippines; acclaimed for a peerless realist technique honed from the best traditions of the Spanish school, broad popularity with art patrons particularly during the American occupation years, and a prolific legacy of beautifully romanticised landscapes. The prevalence of his works within his native country cannot be adequately articulated, as they adorn the walls of national museums and prominent private collections; are reproduced on wall calendars, posters and postcards; and inspire succeeding generations of artists even until today. It is often commented that no Philippine artist in history has insinuated himself so successfully into the popular consciousness as Fernando Amorsolo.

Amorsolo was proficient in portraiture and genre scenes, and critically, displayed a rare ability to capture quintessentially Filipino elements with great skill and sophistication: a provincial vista of lush foliage, rippling rivers under rich tropical sunlight, robust workers in the field, and women in traditional native outfits or elaborate Maria Clara gowns. His repeated skilful depictions of the mainstays of Filipino rural life - where he grew up as a child - applied with a realist technique, glorified the beauty of the Filipino rural countryside and the virtue of its workers and inhabitants, which has come to be known as the classic Amorsolo genre scene.

Harvest (lot 148) presented here is an exceptional example of Amorsol o's landscape painting. Painted in 1930, it exemplifies all archetypal qualities in his paintings – the pastoral scene, industrious workers collecting the harvest in the fields, surrounded by earnest colleagues in the lush and vast splendor of the Philippine countryside. The great sheaves of golden rice stalks, meticulously and finely painted dominate the overall composition, awash in the tropical light of the scene. The workers in the foreground are half in light and half in shadow, displaying Amorsolo’s mastery of aesthetic technique and inspired use of light for which is he most celebrated. The overall scene is also one of community, the communal working together and the sharing of a bountiful harvest, ideals which Amorsolo genuinely tried to capture and portray as the beautiful images of his beloved country.

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