A MASTER artist’s work is most of the time enjoyed by private owners (those who acquire it directly from the artist, the winning bidder at an auction, or heirloom keepers). But Filipino modernist painter Anita Magsaysay-Ho (1914-2012) believed that art is to be enjoyed by everyone.
“She felt [that] art, in a way, was so inaccessible to most people,” the late artist’s daughter, Doris Magsaysay-Ho, said at the launch of Rustan’s for the Arts’s new line of home decor. “When she painted and somebody bought it, it was gone forever from anybody’s view. She really believed that it was important to have reproductions or ways that others could also enjoy these paintings.”
Rustan’s for the Arts fulfilled the artist’s vision in sharing her works with a wider audience with a collection of home decor called “Offerings.”
Named as one of the 13 Moderns of Philippine art, Anita Magsaysay-Ho was known for painting Filipino women wearing kerchiefs on their heads and engaged everyday activities. In 2017, the oil painting The Many Colors of San Francisco (1997) sold for P36.2 million at the Important Philippine Art Auction at Salcedo Auctions. In 2018, the 1950 piece Tahip went for P30 million at the ACC art auction at the Léon Gallery.
Ms. Magsaysay-Ho recalled that as a child, her mother would bring her along to see her exhibits in the now defunct Galerie Bleu at Rustan’s department store.
“I know the Tantoco family very well, so they asked me if I would consider doing it, I thought, my mother always felt that art should be accessible for everybody,” Ms. Ho told BusinessWorld during the launch on Nov. 20 at Rustan’s Makati.
Since 2016, Rustan’s for the Arts has released collections of home decor featuring works by National Artist for Visual Arts Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera, Fernando Amorsolo, Arturo Luz, Al Perez, and Paulina Luz Sotto. The program is aimed at helping raise awareness for arts and culture.
The Magsaysay-Ho collection is highlighted by reproductions of the artist’s original painted plates — her Kakawati Dance, Man and Woman Dancing: Tinikling Dance, and Women with Pineapples — by Bernardaud. There are 350 pieces per design.
“Anita [Magsaysay-Ho] apparently believed that artwork for plates should be on plates, and the paintings are really for the wall,” Dina A. Tantoco, Rustan’s Head of Marketing and Communications told BusinessWorld, about the decorative plates.
“She really painted them on plates. I have the originals plates at home,” Ms. Magsaysay-Ho added. “She did [them] in the 1960s when she lived in Japan when she worked with a ceramics company.”
Other products in the “Offerings” collection include greeting card boxes, cushion covers, and table napkins.
The collection will be available at Rustan’s Alabang Town Center, Gateway, Shangri-La Plaza, and Cebu in January 2020.
A portion of the proceeds from the sales will be donated to the Anita Magsaysay-Ho Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides scholarships to students and supports organizations promoting art and culture. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman