Fernando Amorsolo (1892 - 1972)
Dalagang Bukid (Girl with Banga)
signed and dated 1937 (lower right)
oil on canvas
24" x 19" (61 cm x 48 cm)
We wishes to thank Mrs. Sylvia Amorsolo-Lazo for confirming the authenticity of this lot
PROVENANCE: Dickerson Carmen was a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, who was sent to the Philippines to cover the Spanish-American War. He was a widower and stayed on after the war, making his home in San Juan, Manila. Philip Carmen, Dickerson's son, joined his father in Manila with his family in 1913, where they remained as well. The Carmen family worked for Kodak as well as owning a small business. During the war the family were all imprisoned in Santo Tomas by the Japanese. The Dickersons' loyal Philippine employees were able to hide many of the family valuables from the Japanese, including this 1937 Amorsolo painting they had acquired directly from the artist before the war. These were returned to the family after the war. Philip was killed by a Japanese bomb during the liberation of the prison camp, and his wife Eda was seriously wounded as well. Edna was later able to recover sufficiently to return with the family to the United States. This 1937 Amorsolo painting hung in the family's Rochester, NY home until Edna's passing in 1972, thence by descent to her granddaughter, Pat. The rustic theme that Fernando Amorsolo developed in the early American Period would reach its pinnacle during the 1920s and the 1930s. During these two decades, which were considered his artistic prime, Amorsolo painted extensively in his studio. His magnificent paintings of landscapes and the rural folk became widely popular; Amorsolo received numerous praises from the revered art critics and enthusiasts of his time. As an artist in his zenith, Amorsolo would paint idyllic pictures of countryside living, capturing the scenic and romantic appeal of a glorious era in our history. Amorsolo's vivid, highly optimistic depictions of the countryside significantly contributed to the foundations of pre-war Philippine painting. Since the 20s and the 30s were the peaks of Amorsolo's creative prowess, he would consistently venture into new ideas. He was boldly confident in manipulating his brush and palette, as seen in his colors that captured the authenticity of countryside sanguinity. This is especially evident in Amorsolo's depiction of the dalagang bukid, widely recognized as his most iconic subject. His brightly colored representation of the classic Filipina provincial maiden is inspired by the Maria Clara image espoused by José Rizal, albeit in a rural setting. The artist's remarkably thin and small brushstrokes emphasize the vibrant tropical sunlight, which in turn accentuates the native ideal appearance of the lass and the backdrop of lush and thriving flora. The banga or clay jar that the young maiden carries represents her vulnerability and innocence. At the same time, her sweet smile represents optimism and faith amid trials and tribulations. Notwithstanding the laborious endeavors in the countryside, she reflects the gentle character, natural charisma, and the inherent resilience of the Filipina&mdashthe personification of everything pleasant and admirable. Amorsolo's dalagang bukid embodies a feeling of nostalgia for a time that may never flourish again. Amorsolo's dalagang bukid is the archetypal, sweet-tempered, and innocent maiden embraced by the likes of De la Rosa and Pineda. But the dalaga's attributes transcend the old master’s canvases. Her "feminine sweetness," as noted by Alfredo Roces, is the manifestation of Amorsolo's genuine disposition as a "quiet, gracious, and generous gentleman."
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