(Filipino, 1911-1978)
signed and dated 'H. R. Ocampo 56' (lower right); inscribed 'Private Collection of R. Marino Corpus' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
86 x 126 cm. (34 1/4 x 50 in.)
Painted in 1956
Manuel D. Duldulao, Contemporary Philippine Art, Manila, Philippines, 1972 (illustrated, p. 37).
Angel G. De Jesus, H.R. Ocampo The Artist As Filipino, Philippines, 1979 (illustrated, Fig. 197, p. 100).

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Lot Essay

Dated 1956, Masks, by HR Ocampo is a superb example of the artist's finest achievements in avant garde abstraction. A member of the illustrious Thirteen Moderns fraternity, who pioneered modernism in Philippine art, Ocampo is best known for his biomorphic forms and experimentations with color theory. The works from his early career of the 1940s and 50s were still predominantly concerned with nationalist sentiments and the deprivation experienced during World War II. As a result, strong, quasi-figurative compositions emerged, often depicting Philippine archetypes and cultural elements. Masks reflects the ritual use of masks during tribal or town fiestas. Ocampo captures the sensation of beholding a myriad of masks within a thronging, celebratory crowd; simultaneously festive and frightening. The artwork is richly textured, bearing Ocampo's signature impasto while the earth-toned hues seamlessly integrate with the bright scarlet and shades of green.

Manuel Duldulao comments: "In line with his lifelong interest in color, Ocampo concerns himself with the problem of how to express with color alone the ideas of form, space, depth, luminosity - all at the same time. Colors, as used by Ocampo, must have the necessary ingredients of volume and space. They must be integrated and firmly related but never compromised Ocampo applies paint in dots and short fluid-strokes that come off sensitively from the electric proximity between hand, brush and canvas."

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