3 rare handwritten letters by Andres Bonifacio up for auction
MANILA, Philippines – 3 rare letters – hand-written and signed by Andres Bonifacio himself – are going up for auction at the Leon Gallery’s upcoming Asian Cultural Council Auction on March 3.
Bonifacio, co-founder of the revolutionary group the Katipunan and regarded by many as “the father of the Philippine revolution,” wrote the letters by hand on paper bearing his official letterhead. They were dated March and April 1897 – just a few months before Bonifacio’s death on May 10, 1897.
According to Leon Gallery owner Jaime Ponce de Leon, the letters are among 4 known suriviving letters sent by Bonifacio to Emilio Jacinto, one of the highest ranking officers of the Katipunan.
One of the letters was written just days before the Tejeros Convention, the meeting between the warring factions of the Katipunan, which saw the country’s first presidential and vice-presidential elections.
In the other two letters, Bonifacio tells Jacinto of what happened at the Tejeros Convention, which he describes as a chaotic event, and talks about plans in the meeting’s aftermath.
The letters were studied by scholar Jim Richardson, and verified by Leon Gallery’s own team of historians.
To make them even more historically significant, the letters are part of the estate of the late Epifanio de los Santos, who was the director of the National Library, and a respected historian and scholar.
Each letter goes for a starting bid of P500,000.
Aside from historically significant pieces, the auction also includes important artwork by some of the country’s most prominent artists.
Another central piece in the sale is Jose Joya’s 1959 work, “Space Transfiguration,” which goes for a starting bid of P22M.
The piece is described by De Leon as “the most important work of Jose Joya,” saying that it is the most exhibited, most awarded, and most published piece of the artist, who died in 1995. The piece was sourced from the artist’s own estate.
“It is actually the most favorite work of the artist also, because he refused to part with it, and of course it is consigned from the family,” De Leon said. “They felt that it was time for it to let go.”
Other key pieces in the sale include Anita Magsaysay-Ho’s 1960 piece, “Tahip,” which was acquired from one of the late artist’s best friends. The starting bid for the piece is P18M.
The auction also includes several works by Ang Kiukok, including “Scream” from 1984, which comes with a photo of the artist posing with the painting. The lot goes for a starting bid of P10M.
The auction also includes pieces of furniture, including two chairs made of narra and rattan, done by the late sculptor Isabelo Tampinco, whose work includes historical landmarks such as the interiors of the Old Senate Session Hall at the National Museum, the Manila Cathedral facade, and the woodcarvings of the San Agustin Church.
The chairs belonged to Maximo Viola, a contemporary of national hero Jose Rizal, and the man who financed the publication of Noli Me Tangere.
The Asian Cultural Council Auction will be held at the Leon Gallery on March 3. Part of the proceeds of the sale will benefit deserving artists for further exposure and education abroad. “It is our way to give back to the very art where we derive our standing from,” De Leon said. – Rappler.com