(Filipino, 1910-1981)
Young Girl with Cigar
signed 'Manansala 72' (upper left)
charcoal on paper
70 x 101 cm. (27 1/2 x 39 3/4 in.)
Painted in 1972
From the collection of Ambassador JV Cruz
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner
Sale room notice
Medium should read: charcoal on paper

Lot Essay

Foremost modernist Vicente Manansala is highly celebrated for his pioneering style of 'transparent cubism'. A significant part of his career was dedicated to his charcoal on paper works of young female sitters in the nude. From Greco-Roman classicism to French salon painters, the art of the nude has been widely acknowledged as one of the most challenging forms put to an artist. It requires a high degree of anatomical precision and a refined execution. When combined with Manansala's penchant for cubist-modernism, this becomes doubly challenging. Manansala's nudes are beautifully rendered odes to the female form. Within their reclining limbs, arched backs and Raphaelite silhouettes, he portrays also the geometric outlines of his cubist influences; carefully shaded with charcoal to create interlocking gradients of warm chiaroscuro hues.

Young Girl with a Cigar (Lot 151) is one of the most refined and complete nude studies created by Manansala. It portrays a full-bodied female seen from a frontal perspective, lying in complete abandon upon a couch. Manansala usually painted his sitters from the side or back views and front views are extremely rare. Although her outspread limbs appear to reflect the attitude of sleep, it also appears that the young girl has been smoking - possibly a rolled marijuana cigar, leading to her drugged stupor. Painted in 1972, the same year as the explosive, six foot wide study: Group of Nude Figures, it is likely the girl was a hedonistic party attendee instead of one of the young debutantes who often modelled for the artist.

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