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FERNANDO CUETO AMORSOLO (Filipino, 1892-1972) Sunday Morning in the Población signed and dated 'F Amorsolo 1953' (lower right) oil on canvas 53.5 x 74 cm. (21 x 29 in.) Painted in 1953
Private Collection, Asia
Post Lot Text
This artwork is accompanied by a letter of authenticity dated December 1953 from the artist

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Lot Essay

Fernando Cueto Amorsolo has long been considered the artist who best captures the rich, romantic sensibility of the pastoral Philippine countryside within his idyllic realist canvases. Highly acclaimed and sought after by art patrons even during his lifetime, Amorsolo's skillful use of light - particularly the lingering rays of sunlight falling on trees, through leaves, over flowing rivers - and the vibrant hues of his colour palette reflect his Spanish training, and convey a subtle textural quality to each scene which comes to life under his brush. Amorsolo is also noted for his depiction of graceful local young maidens or 'dalaga', who are metaphors for the beautiful yet resilient spirit of the Philippines.

Girls Washing in the River (Lot 163) is exemplary of Amorsolo's fine precision in portraying the female form through gentle contours, set within a rustic woodland scene. Amorsolo often employed models to pose for him in his studio in order to accurately capture their physiognomy; however the verdant trees and rushing water around the girls are painted from memories of his visits to nearby locales of natural beauty, such as the Marikina river, a site often painted lovingly by the artist.

Family under the Mango Tree (Lot 164) is one of Amorsolo's most recognizable genre images. It depicts a family taking a break from their work in the rice fields and cooking their lunch under the wide shade of a mango tree. Three of the figures are women, implying that the men continue to work ceaselessly as their wives prepare their noon repast. Despite the simplicity of the image, the emotions invested by Amorsolo are complex and deeply heartfelt: the gratitude towards farmer folk who toil under the sun in order to reap food for the nation, the unity of a family including young and old, and the humble, idealized joys of country life.

These themes are seen again in Planting Rice (Lot 165), whose central figure this time is a young 'dalaga' who is shown pausing in her work to roll up her sleeve, still grasping a small sheaf of rice plants in one hand. Around her are the bent backs of the other rice farmers, poignantly showing the intensive labor of rice harvesting. However what captures a viewer's attention in this particular image is Amorsolo's mastery in conveying the light falling on the water of the rice field, and the crystal clear reflection of the warm blue sky above.

Sunday Morning in the Poblaci?n (Lot 166) is shows a población - or village - after Sunday morning church. In the foreground a fruit seller shows his wares as a carabao cart drives past, while in the background is the stone fa?ade of the village church with people streaming out after the service. This is a relatively rarer genre scene of Amorsolo's, set within a village rather than in the open fields or countryside, but continues to reflect the harmony within his compositions, expansive setting and masterful use of light.

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