The artist Juanito Torres completed a 58-by-85-inch artwork titled “Parade of Heroes” in time for the Philippines’ celebration of its 125th Independence Day on June 12.
The painting shows a gathering of heroes led by Dr. Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio in a parade, waving small Philippine flags. It was unveiled in Salcedo Auctions’ “Finer Pursuits; Important Philippine Art and Rate Collectibles” at NEX Tower Podium Level in Makati City, where rare and collective artworks were previewed from May 25 to June 2.
Torres’ piece was the subject of brisk bidding during the live and online auction on June 3. It was sold for P467,200, higher than the original estimate of P350,000-P400,000. The buyer’s identity is usually kept secret by auction houses.
According to its Facebook account, Salcedo Auctions specializes in auctioning fine art, decorative art, jewelry and collectible items. It regards itself as “the trusted arbiter and barometer of the Philippine art market.”
“Parade of Heroes” depicts the key figures of the 19th-century revolutionary movement against the Spanish colonial regime, including, among others, Rizal, Bonifacio, Apolinario Mabini, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Antonio Luna, Melchora Aquino, Gregorio del Pilar, and Macario Sakay.
Torres, 44, from Pulilan, Bulacan, attended the Philippine High School for the Arts in Makiling in Los Banos, Laguna, where he was awarded for Outstanding Visual Arts in 1994. He took further studies at the University of the Philippines’ College of Fine Arts in Diliman, Quezon City.
The late art critic Alice Guillermo described him as one of the leading contemporary artists of his time, joining the ranks of Elmer Borlongan, Mark Justiniani and Neil Doloricon, among others.
Torres was a finalist at the Metrobank Foundation National Painting Competition in 2005 and was a fellow and designated artist for CANVAS Romeo Forbes Children’s Literature Initiative from 2009 to 2010.
His works are part of the permanent collections of major museums in the country, such as the Museum of the Katipunan in San Juan City, Miguel Malvar Museum in Batangas, Pinto Museum in Antipolo City, and Luna Museum in Ilocos Sur, and the National Historical Commission.
His portfolio made the seminal artwork exhibit “Icons and Superheroes.” Among his other works are “The Grand Ball,” “Heroes for Freedom,” and “The Assassination of Rizal.”
New benchmarks, records
Salcedo Auctions’ latest event set new price benchmarks and world auction records, according to its Facebook account. Among the works were National Artist Ang Kiukok’s “Man and Dog,” which sold for P28,032,000—the highest price for any of his masterpieces.
Alfredo Carmelo’s “Farewell at Barcelona” drew P1,752,000, and National Artist Arturo Luz’s “Carnival Forms No. 14” sold at P6,424,000.