NATIONAL Artist for Visual Arts Arturo Luz passed away on the evening of May 26 at the age 94, his daughter Angela Luz announced on social media.
“…He enriched our lives with his art, with his incredible talent and his genius. As a father and a grandfather, he was simply the best. He was the most kind and generous human being. And as a husband to my mother, he was perfect. He will be terribly missed, but will never be forgotten. His legacy will live on, and will last forever,” Ms. Luz wrote in a Facebook post.
A painter, sculptor, and printmaker, Arturo Luz was a founding member of the modern Neo-Realist school in Philippine art, according to Artnet.com. He was the founding director of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila in 1976, holding the position until 1986.
“[Mr. Luz] established set principles in museum work informed by his unique minimalist aesthetic,” a tribute on the Metropolitan Museum Facebook page reads. “Just like his art, his curatorial work espoused a sharp and polished finish, mounting a total of 108 exhibitions in 10 years.”
“A prolific artist who helped develop and propel art since the 1960s, Arturo Luz is a true luminary in Philippine art and its history, whose influence is deeply felt until today,” said the Met.
Mr. Luz was also the first executive director of the Design Center of the Philippines, serving for 14 years after his appointment in 1973.
He established the Luz Gallery in 1960, and by doing so “professionalized the art gallery as an institution and set a prestigious influence over generations of Filipino artists,” said the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
“We mourn a huge loss with the passing of one of the Philippines’ great modern artists but we will forever be grateful for the creative legacy that Arturo Luz has bequeathed the Filipino nation.”
Born on Nov. 20, 1926, Luz studied Fine Arts at the University of Santo Tomas, then took further studies at the Art School of the Brooklyn Museum in New York, and at the Académie Grade Chaumière in Paris. He also received a diploma from the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland in 1994.
He participated in numerous international shows including the Philippine Cultural Exhibition in New York (1953), Arte de America y España (1963), the 11th São Paolo Biennial (1971), the Tokyo International Print Biennial (1974), and the 8th British International Print Biennale (1984).
He was famous for creating geometric artworks. His mural titled Black and White is displayed at the lobby of the Cultural Center of the Philippines’s Bulwagang Carlos V. Francisco (Little Theater). Many people are familiar with his sculptures which can be found in public spaces like the plaza in front of the Ayala Museum in Makati, and the stainless steel cube in front of the Benguet Mining Corporation Bldg. in Pasig.
Other works are part of the National Museum of the Philippines’ collection of National Fine Arts, including seven outdoor sculptures and a pair of burlap paintings.
“We will miss Mr. Luz whose presence has loomed large in shaping Philippine modern art and has been kind to our institution,” the National Museum of the Philippines wrote on Facebook.
In 1997, Mr. Luz was recognized as a National Artist for Visual Arts, the highest national recognition given to Filipino artists in the Philippines.
Preparations for his state funeral are underway and details will be announced shortly, said the NCCA. — MAPS