The studies comprise:
Tribes of the Northern Philippines, including Tinguian, Igorot and Aeta people
signed ‘Jose H. Lozano lo Pinto’
Three Philippine warriors and a seated figure
signed 'Jose H. Lozano ló Pinto.' (lower left)
Three Philippine headhunters
signed 'Jose H. Lozano lo Dibujo' (lower left)
Three Muslim women and a guard
signed 'Jose H. Lozano ló Dibujo' (lower left)
signed 'Pintao. Por Jose H. Lozano.' (lower left)
signed 'Jose H. Lozano lo Pínto (lower left)
Fishermen casting their nets
signed 'Jose H. Lozano lo Díbujo' (lower left)
signed 'Jose Lozano lo Dibu.o (lower left)
Spinning and weaving, Batanes, Northern Philippines, with Ivatan women wearing vakuls
signed 'Jose H. Lozano lo Pintó -' (lower left)
A family lighting a fire in a coastal village, Northern Philippines
signed 'Jose Lozano, ló Pinto.' (lower left)
Ivatan men wearing Talugong, working in the fields, Batanes, Northern Philippines
A rare set of watercolours of the races, types, and costumes from the Philippine provinces by the leading painter active in Manila in the 1840s and '50s. Lozano's watercolours otherwise mostly concentrate on the types and costumes of metropolitan Manila, the Pasig river, and surroundings, for which see The Flebus Album sold in these Rooms, 14 July 1995, lot 112 (£265,500), the four depictions of Mestizas and Mestizos (Christie's South Kensington, 24 April 2013, lot 156, £32,500), and the other known larger gatherings of his work which comprise the Ayala, Gironella and so-called 'broken' albums described by Jose Maria A. Carino in his survey of Lozano's work (José Honorato Lozano; Filipinas 1847, 2002), and the album of twenty-three watercolours which emerged earlier this year (Albun de J.A. de 1857, Abalarte, Madrid, 9 July 2015, lot 1109, sold 400,000 Euros).
The present set comes from the same Spanish collection as the Philippine landscape views sold in these Rooms last year (30 Oct. 2014, lot 35, £43,750), a source which must surely explain the unusual provincial subject matter: 'The first wave of Basque settlers concentrated in Manila, where they established trading companies, but the second wave, arriving in the 1820s, and in the 1830s in the wake of the First Carlist War, headed for the provinces, looking to exploit the potential of underdeveloped lands. They became involved in sugar, abaca (Manila hemp), tobacco and coffee production: ‘The settlement and development of hitherto unexplored lands, particularly in Bicol, Negros, Panay, and the hinterlands of eastern Mindanao, gave a new impetus to the colonization and development of the areas with an eye toward commercial ventures. Some Basques would practically hack their way into the thicket of lush forest and grasslands to establish settlements and plantations.’ (M.R. de Borja, Basques in the Philippines, Nevada, 2005, pp.88-9)
The archipelago of islands in the south-east of Asia known today as the Philippines was originally populated by Malays and incorporated in the vast Indonesian empire called Madjapahit. The islands were visited by Indonesian, Indian, Arab and Chinese traders from around 100 AD and by the 12th Century the Chinese had established a permanent presence. In 1521 Magellan sailed westward across the Pacific (the Portuguese had barred the shorter course via the Cape of Good Hope) to open up a trade route with the Indies and discovered the islands for Spain, landing at Samar Island in March (he was killed by a Mactan chieftain seven weeks later). The Spanish took formal possession in 1565 when the conquistadore Miguel Lopez de Legazpi gained a foothold at Cebu and claimed the islands in the name of Philip II. The Spaniards moved north and defeated the Muslim chieftain Sulayman and took over his fortress at the mouth of the Pasig River on the sheltered harbour which would become known as Manila Bay. Legazpi founded the walled city of Manila in June 1571 and the conquistadores with friars in tow fanned out to secure land and convert the natives. A Spanish governor-general responsible to the Viceroy of Mexico presided over the walled city (Intramuros) and the adjoining territories. Chinese trading fleets fuelled the welfare of the colony, the Spanish then trading their purchases with Mexico on the annual 'Manila Galleon' in return for Mexican silver. Trade out of Manila, which had been exclusively with Spain by way of Mexico, and then monopolised by the Royal Company of the Philippines, was gradually opened up from the late 18th Century as the colony sought to expand its economy. Cash crops (sugar, tobacco, indigo and hemp) were introduced and the port of Manila opened to international trade from 1834, attracting further Basque emigration to the islands, and furnishing Manila-born Lozano with Basques amongst his international patrons.
Lozano was born in Manila, the son of the lighthouse keeper at Manila Bay and grew up in Sampaloc just outside Intramuros. He was active as a painter in the 1840s (a commission for Charles D. Mugford, an American Captain who visited Manila in 1845, is in the Peabody Museum, Salem, Massachusetts) and was remarked on as 'a watercolourist without rival' by a local commentator Rafael Diaz Arenas as early as 1850. A number of his early commissions in the 1840s and 1850s show him as a practitioner of the unusual art form known as letres y figuras in which a patron's name is composed by elaborate arrangements of figures (tipos del Pais) surrounded by vignettes of scenes in Manila. This art form may derive loosely from the work of medieval illuminators (Lozano himself was described as an 'illuminator' by Dominador Castaneda in Art in the Philippines in 1964) and was popular with other artists in the Philippines in the nineteenth century. He also produced more conventional studies of local types and costumes, as with the letres y figuras, to supply the demand for souvenirs of the then exotic Manila for visiting traders and government officials. These studies fall broadly in line with the popular genre dubbed costumbrismo practised by Spanish colonial painters in the mid-nineteenth century in Latin America 'covering the activities and typical dress of every sort of inhabitant, from urban upper-class society to those of the barrios, from marketplace, military camp, cattle range, portside loading dock to frontier forest and jungle.' (S.L. Catlin (inter alia), Art in Latin America, the Modern Era, 1820-1980 (exhibition catalogue), London 1989, pp. 48-9). He is also recorded as working in oils and was commissioned by the Spanish government to depict episodes from the history of the colony to be displayed during the fiesta in the district of Santa Cruz in Manila in 1848 and Arenas recalls further historical genre commissions. His work, encompassing letres y figuras, Tipos del Pais, landscapes and genre has marked him out as an important transitional figure between the miniaturist art of Damian Domingo and Justiniano Asunçion and the fully-fledged genre paintings of Lorenzo Guerrero and Felipe Rojas.