Ronald Ventura’s acrylic and oil painting Party Animal (2017) — WWW.CHRISTIES.COM

FILIPINO painter Ronald Ventura’s acrylic and oil painting Party Animal (2017) sold for HK$19,450,000 (P120,442,529) at Christie’s 20th and 21st Century Art Evening Sale on May 24. This was far above the work’s pre-sale estimate of between HK$800,000 to HK$1,200,000.

Party Animals, which features images of a clothed elk, two wolves, and a bear, along with two cartoon demons having a celebration outdoors — was exhibited in 2017 at the Tyler Rollins Fine Arts gallery in New York as part of Mr. Ventura’s Wild State of Mind solo exhibition. 

According to the Tyler Rollins Fine Arts Gallery’s description of the exhibition where Party Animal was showcased, Mr. Ventura took inspiration from “contemporary social practices and culture, placing his hybrid creatures in scenes of merrymaking, parading, brawling, or playing sports — contexts that elicit extreme emotions but are very much part of our lived realities today.”

Mr. Ventura has had many accolades in his career. A student of fine arts at the University of Santo Tomas, in 1990, he won first prize at the Shell National Students Art Competition. He was one of the recipients at the 13 Artists Award in 2003, and was an Ateneo Art Award winner in 2005. Mr. Ventura was a participating artist in the Prague Biennale and the Nanjing Biennial in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

Mr. Ventura’s first auctioned artwork was his graphite, oil, and acrylic Grayground Painting which sold for $1.1 million at Sotheby’s Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings Auction in Hong Kong in 2011. The Wonderful Bait oil on canvas piece was sold for HK$7,840,000 at Christie’s Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Sale in Hong Kong in 2014. — MAPS