Art Alert: 3 Lee Aguinaldo Works From The Collection Of His Love Melba Arribas Will Be Up For Auction This Weekend - Arts & Culture

At León Gallery’s Spectacular Mid-Year Auction, Aguinaldo is featured along with other big names in Philippine abstractionism and modernism.

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Filipino abstractionism and modernism are featured in the upcoming Spectacular Mid-Year Auction of León Gallery. One particular highlight are personal paintings by Lee Aguinaldo, which are from the collection of Melba Arribas.

Unapologetic art

The rockstar painter and former fashion model were partners at the time of the former’s death in 2007, and he left quite a few pieces behind in her possession. The New York-born artist was part of the first wave of Filipino modernists and abstractionists, a group that included the likes of the late Arturo Luz.

“Untitled” by Lee Aguinaldo

Aguinaldo boldly proclaimed that his works were homages to the artists that he admired, and pushed back at the idea that art can be 100 percent original. Some of those he admired were Mark Rothko, Ad Reinhart, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jackson Pollock, the style and technique of the last one having inspired the Filipino artist’s Flick series.

There are three Aguinaldo works included in Leon’s auction this weekend. “Crazy No. 1” is an image transfer, paper collage and acrylic on plywood; an “Untitled” work painted and signed in 1953 is done in oil on board; and another “Untitled” work is dedicated to his lover in 1997 and created in oil on canvas.

“Crazy No. 1” by Lee Aguinaldo

Big names

Luz, the “painter’s painter” and National Artist who passed away last month, has seven works in the weekend auction. Red Performance (2007), Trio Performers, Two Nudes (2010), Two Women (2010), Black Collage (2000), Untitled (ca 1978), and Red Trio Performing (2009).

“Untitled,” by Arturo Luz

Ramon Orlina, who is considered by many as the Father of Philippine Glass Sculpture, is also part of León. The female anatomy is a well-used theme in the artist’s work, which is also seen in his entry “Aphrodie09.” The 52cm x 33cm x 28 cm piece is made of green Asahi glass.   

Meanwhile, abstract painter and CCP Thirteen Artists Award winner Lao Lianben has three works in the auction: Gestures (1991), Secrets (1985), and Number 33 (1975).

“Aphrodite-09” by Ramon Orlina

The Spectacular Mid-Year Auction will have its preview from May 29 to June 4, at León Gallery, G/F Eurovilla 1, Rufino corner Legazpi Streets, Legazpi Village, Makati. The event itself will be on June 5, starting at 2 P.M.

To bid online, register at To browse the catalogue, visit

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