Lot Content

COVID-19 Important notice Read More
VICENTE SILVA MANANSALA (The Philippines 1910-1981)
VICENTE SILVA MANANSALA (The Philippines 1910-1981)

Two men with cockerel

VICENTE SILVA MANANSALA (The Philippines 1910-1981) Two men with cockerel signed and dated 'Manansala/66' (upper right) oil on canvas 34 7/8 x 41 3/8 in. (88.5 x 105 cm.)
Acquired directly from the artist.

Lot Essay

"If he found Cubism already an art of the museum, he gave it once more, the secularity of a living art. But above all, he mastered and changed an idiom so that it may eloquently voice his Filipino sensibilities." (Rodolfo Paras-Perez, Manansala, Plc Publications, Manila, 1980, p.196.)

One of the core elements of the Filipino aesthetics is the sense of 'abundance and fullness' as Dr. Paras-Perez would have it termed. "During town fiestas or other feastings, the sense of abundance and fullness gets displayed in all its dimensions. Food is served, in quantities if possible, which would make the table sag. Food is measured not in terms of plates but in the quantity of cattle, hogs, and fowls cooked." (Ibid, p. 193). Herein lies the ingenuity of Manansala as a Filipino artist who always fill up his canvas with such abundance of activities, food and people. The present work does not present a crowded composition but nevertheless the composition is full with the 2 characters and the cockerel as well as the jar and banana in the background. A classical composition with a triangular structure, the present work displays the elegant rendition of the subjects in a quasi-cubist form, deconstructing and constructing the subjects simultaneously, which is the stylistic principle that underlined the Manansala's brand of cubism.

"Manansala plunged into cubism but did not let it overwhelm him" (Ibid). Unlike Picasso or Braque who fragment and de-construct an order or composition, the Filipino artist retains "an almost reverential attitude towards the object, a definite reluctance to break or fragment the image beyond recognition". Indeed, "where Picasso seems to test the limits of an object's coherence, to see how far he can break the object or image and still suggest its presence, Manansala is more inclined to see how far he can keep the object or image - to suggest the pulsing structure of reality without dislocating the contour of each shape. Manansala's motif are common enough, thus all the more sensitive to any visual shifting of shapes: the native earthern pot, the frying pan, the bowl, the ladle. The fruits and vegetables too are common: tomatoes, turnips, stringbeans, tamarinds. All are delineated in highly contained identities, his vision apparently intent on the implosion rather than the explosion of reality." (Ibid).

Even though Manansala paid homage to the legacy of Cubism but he did not let his veneration retard his courage to place it within an indigenous context that would be accessible to all Filipinos. More importantly, it would be this unique vision that grants his works the originality that marks him as a great artist.


More From Southeast Asian Modern and Contemporary Art

View All
View All