Filipino artists

Amorsolo’s ‘Mango Harvesters’ stolen from private museum in Negros Occidental

Erwin Delilan

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Amorsolo’s ‘Mango Harvesters’ stolen from private museum in Negros Occidental

STOLEN. 'Mango Harvesters' (1936) by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo was stolen from the Hofileña Museum in Silay, Negros Occidental.

Hofileña Museum

(1st UPDATE) The 1936 painting by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo reportedly went missing after the Hofileña Museum hosted two batches of tourists on July 3. Police say they have identified two persons of interest in relation to the case.

BACOLOD, Philippines – Heritage advocates in Silay City, Negros Occidental, have asked the public to help track down a painting by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo that had been stolen from a private museum in the city.

In a Facebook post on Friday, July 5, Silay Heritage relayed the theft of one of the prized collections of the Hofileña Museum, Amorsolo’s Mango Harvesters (1936).

“Please help in the recovery of this important piece of art,” the Silay heritage advocacy group said, and provided contact information of local police.

Mango Harvesters, owned by the Hofileña family, measures 12 x 18 inches. It is part of the collection of the late Ramon Hofiĺeña, a known art conosseiur in Negros Occidental and billed as the “Father of Heritage Conservation” in Silay.

The missing painting was on the second floor of the museum, alongside the works of Filipino masters Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo and Juan Luna, as well as National Artist Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera, and renowned expressionist Ang Kiukok, among others.

The painting was believed to have been stolen from the Hofileña Museum, located along Cinco de Noviembre Street in Silay, on Wednesday, July 3.

City tourism officer Gerle Sulmaca told Rappler on Saturday, July 6, that museum manager Rene Hofileña reported the incident to her office on Friday morning.

Sulmaca said that according to Hofileña, the museum hosted two batches of tourists on July 3. At the time, there was only one tour guide on duty.

Sulmaca said the museum had a list of those who joined the July 3 tour, which was turned over to investigators.

Silay police said they have identified two persons of interest based on the video captured by the closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera in the museum.

Reward offer

Silay Mayor Joedith Gallego vowed to help in the search for the stolen painting. She announced a P25,000-cash reward for anyone who could give information that would lead to the arrest of the suspect, and recovery of the stolen artwork.

The mayor was to conduct an ocular inspection at the museum on Saturday to see what the city government could do to help in securing the rest of the valuable art pieces in the museum built by Severino Hofileña and  Gilda Ledesma in the 1930s.

Retired tourism officer Ver Pacete told Rappler, “As far as my recollection is concerned, the late Ramon Hofileña really put premium value on that art piece (Mango Harvesters) when he was still alive. It’s really, really precious for him.”

Amorsolo, the “Grand Old Man of Philippine Art,” was the Philippines’ first National Artist. He is known for his luminous depiction of the country’s rural landscape and his portraits.

Silay, dubbed as the “Little Paris of Negros Occidental,” is known for its cultural and historical conservation and protection. – Rappler.com

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