Regarded as a pioneering woman painter and a first generation modernist, Anita Magsaysay-Ho has a special place in the history of Philippines art. During the formative years of modernism, she was at the forefront with the Thirteen Moderns which included the original Triumvirate consisting of Victorio Edades, Carlos Francisco and Galo Ocampo, joined later by Vicente Manansala, Cesar Legaspi, and Hernando R. Ocampo, and Nena Saguil, among others.
As a student of the University of the Philippines School of Fine Arts in the early 1940s, Anita Magsaysay-Ho painted in the style of the Fernando Amorsolo who was both the art teacher and a successful artist of the time. However, it did not take a very long time for the artist to rebel against the genre painting of Amorsolo and her resistance against academic formula is evident with her 1950s works.
Executed with egg tempera on board and canvas, these paintings offer yet another possible images of Filipino women other than those sweet faces of Amorsolo. Anita's women appeared elongated, angular and abstract, with the use of brisk, decisive lines, she revealed a tendency to simplify forms into basic geometric shapes - finally, the break with the master is complete and she earns herself a distinct position among the modernists.
"In a return to her native grounds, she has rediscovered her profoundly Asian self in the fine and luminous images of women with their spiritual inwardness, contemplation and inner strength conveyed in a new reverential tone in which the sisterhood of Anita Magsaysay-Ho find her true element."
(Alice G. Guillermo, "A Journey of Self-discovery" in 12 ASEAN ARTISTS, Balai Seni Lukis Negara 2000, the artists and authors, Kuala Lumpur, 2000, p. 33).