Conversations about: Felix Eduardo Resurreccion Hidalgo y Padilla, 1855 – 1913, painter

“Hidalgo is all light, color, harmony, feeling, limpidness like the Philippines in her calm moonlit nights, in her serene days with her horizons inviting contemplation…”

Dr. Jose P. Rizal during the toast at the dinner in honor of of the prizewinning artists Juan Luna and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo on 25 June 1884 at the “Cafe Ingles.”

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Refinement.  The one characteristic of the paintings of Felix Resurrecion Hidalgo y Padilla.

“The only real “La Banca’!!! ”  Teyet declared smugly as we stood, mesmerized as always during every visit, by the masterpiece in his apartment’s entrance hall.

So it was quite a surprise when we browsed through Teyet’s former BFF “best friend forever” and now archnemesis couturier Pitoy Moreno’s book “Kasalan” [ "Wedding" ] — derided as “Kasalanan” [ "Sin" ] by Teyet — and saw the “La Banca” painting by Hidalgo, another one, this time from the collection of industrialist Manuel Ag*stines and his patrician wife Ros*rito Legarda-Prieto C*ro.

For sure, that was another real “La Banca.”

Another beautiful, relatively accessible Hidalgo painting is “La Inocencia” still in its original Filipino Art Nouveau frame from the collection of Dr. Alejandro Legarda.  It still hangs in the living room of his house.

A real stunner, an epic work, is the mural “The Assassination of Governor Bustamante” in the Leandro and Cecilia Locsin collection.  I first saw it during the Luna-Hidalgo retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila in the late 1980s.  With the painter’s characteristic finesse, it didn’t even look like a violent assassination.  It looked like the Dominican friars were just parading around with banners or something…

Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo y Padilla was born in 1855 to the rich, propertied Padilla family of Binondo, Manila originally from 1700s Lingayen, Pangasinan.  For starters, he was painted at the age of four in 1859 [ or age of six in 1859 if born in 1853;  historians have varied dates  :P ] with his maternal grandfather Narciso Padilla by the Tondo maestro Antonio Malantic.  Narciso Padilla was a rich lawyer and merchant with several businesses and many commercial real estate properties in Manila and surrounding “arrabales” districts.  Narciso’s daughter, Barbara “Baritay” Padilla de Resurreccion Hidalgo, Felix’s mother, inherited many valuable  properties from him, among them several big warehouses in the Divisoria entrepot in Tondo which lined the Pasig river.  The affluent Padilla family had [ and still has ] a long history distinguished by high professional achievement, wealth, conservatism, and prudence.  The Padilla descendants recall that, with characteristic frugality, their forebears had transferred the “bahay na bato” ancestral house in Lingayen, Pangasinan beam by beam and brick by brick to Calle General Solano in posh San Miguel district, Manila in the late 1800s.  Frugality notwithstanding, the transfer of whole houses “in toto” was not an unusual practice during the Spanish colonial era.

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18 Comments

  1. October 13, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    “El Artista y Su Modelo” is one of my favorite Hidalgo paintings. From Luna’s, my favorite is his majestic “Triclinium.”

  2. Enrique Bustos said,

    December 2, 2010 at 5:01 am

    The Artista y Modelo by Felix Hidalgo was bought by Rafael Roces Sr it was burned in his house during the Liberation of Manila in World War II

  3. Hope Ruelan said,

    August 27, 2010 at 1:34 am

    how about the toast to juan luna and felix resurreccion hidalgo?

  4. Myles Garcia said,

    August 8, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Didn’t realize that–not that I knew much about them–Don Alfonso O. was quite the collector. No wonder one of his granddaughters ( married to a first cousin ) has also been on such an art-collecting spree all these years.

  5. August 8, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Enrique:

    Thank you for that correction. I will not publish it here because we both know she is a very private lady.

    Toto Gonzalez

  6. Enrique Bustos said,

    August 3, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Toto,

    Yes, that is the house I am referring to, it is at #5 Calle Limanzana cor 978 R. Hidalgo St., Quiapo. At one point, Alfonso Ongpin owned over 500 pieces of artworks by major & notable artists. The owner of the property, Don Felipe Hidalgo, offered it to Alfonso Ongpin for his residential and commercial use free of rent.

  7. August 2, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Enrique:

    How I wish!!! Hahahah!!!

    There is an interesting connection brewing… my dear friend Architect Ramon Zaragoza occasionally spoke of a house owned by Felipe Hidalgo on Calle Limanzana off Calle R. Hidalgo in Quiapo which was occupied by Alfonso Ongpin and filled to the rafters with his collections. That is the house you have mentioned.

    Cheers!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  8. Enrique Bustos said,

    August 2, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Toto,

    Maybe “Las Virgenes Cristianas Expuestas al Populacho,” “Triclinium” by Juan Luna, and “Artista y Modelo” by Felix Hidalgo were offered by Don Alfonso Ongpin to your grandparents.

    In “Excelsior” magazine, year 1925, it featured the house of Don Alfonso Ongpin and in one of the photo it showed the “Las Virgenes Cristianas Expuestas al Populacho” hung in one of the rooms. It was said about that time that Don Alfonso Ongpin was trying to sell it for P7,000 plus two other outstanding paintings one titled “Triclinium” by Juan Luna and the other by Felix Hidalgo titled “Artista y Modelo” each for P5,000. It was Don Felipe Hidalgo who eventually got the “Las Virgenes Cristianas Expuestas al Populacho,” Don Felipe Hidalgo being a close friend of Don Alfonso Ongpin. Don Felipe Hidalgo then offered one of his properties to Don Alfonso Ongpin if he wanted to rent it. Don Alfonso transferred his new shop and house in the Hidalgo property.

    Don Alfonso Ongpin was the one who inspired Don Eugenio Lopez to become the greatest collector of Filipiniana books, maps, and arts.

    Among the paintings in the Lopez Museum Collection that came from Don Alfonso Ongpin are Juan Luna’s “Study of Laborer” or “El Borracho,” “La Moza y Lego” with a dedication to Don Alfonso Ongpin by Juan Luna’s brother Governor Joaquin Luna, and “Ensuenos de Amor,” Felix Hidalgo’s “Mi Amiga.”

  9. Myles Garcia said,

    August 1, 2010 at 1:17 am

    CORRECTION to my #8 post: it’s “Nonon” Padilla…not Nonoy. Mea culpa.

  10. July 31, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Enrique:

    My goodness… your incredible memory is positively encyclopedic!!! :D

    Cheers!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  11. Myles Garcia said,

    July 31, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    There is a present Hidalgo-Padilla descendant who has followed in his ancestor’s footsteps… altho I know he primarily does portraits… Nonoy Padilla.

    (BTW, I encountered one of those little packaged half-n-half/milk containers used in hotels, airlines, etc., in Greece, named…guess what? Noynoy. No, it doesn’t bear a picture of the current Pinoy president, and I think it may have been around even before June 2010. But what a whimsical coincidence, huh? :-) )

  12. July 31, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Enrique:

    That’s interesting.

    All this time, I’ve known that Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo y Padilla’s “La Barca de Aqueronte” and “Las Virgenes Cristianas Expuestas al Populacho” — the artist’s own copies of his prizewinning originals in Spain — had hung for decades until 1983 [ ? ] in the Chinese antiques-filled “entresuelo” of the eccentric mansion of his nephew, the legendary collector Felipe Hidalgo y Kleimpell, along R. Hidalgo Street [ formerly Calle San Sebastian ] in Quiapo district. After Felipe passed away in the early 1980s, his magnificent collection was dispersed to the winds. His principal heir sold the two paintings — considered national treasures — for cold cash to the Central Bank of the Philippines through CB governor Jaime “Jimmy” Laya and top antique dealer Severina “Viring” de Asis. Jimmy Laya gives a blow-by-blow account of that spectacular purchase in his book “Consuming Passions,” but he does not state names.

    An interesting note: In the 1920s, my grandfather Augusto Gonzalez Sr. purchased the building along Calle Rosario, Binondo where Alfonso Ongpin’s famous art store “El 82″ was located. For many years, Alfonso Ongpin paid rent to my grandfather [ some of the receipts still exist ], and afterwards to my grandmother, Rosario Arnedo-Gonzalez. It is extremely regrettable that Alfonso Ongpin periodically offered Lolo Bosto and Lola Charing several paintings by old Filipino masters — Luna, Hidalgo, et. al. — but they were too busy with their occupations, he a businessman, she a philanthropist, so they declined. In the mid-1970s, my uncle Macario / Brother Andrew F.S.C of De La Salle University persuaded my grandmother to sell the building because it was “too troublesome to collect rent from the Chinese tenants.” So characteristic of him. :P

  13. Enrique Bustos said,

    July 31, 2010 at 4:46 am

    Don Alfonso Ongpin also once owned the “Las Virgenes Cristianas Expuestas al Populacho” now in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Art Collection.

  14. Enrique Bustos said,

    July 31, 2010 at 4:41 am

    Don Eugenio Lopez bought some of his Filipiniana collection from Don Alfonso Ongpin which includes a Juan Luna painting titled Mi Novia. it later ended up with former first lady Imelda Marcos i am not sure if Mrs Marcos bought it from Don Eugenio or it was given to her as a gift by Don Eugenio

    Don Alfonso Ongpin a Friend of Don Eugenio Lopez advised him to become the biggest collector of Filipiniana Arts and Books some other friends of Don Alfonso Ongpin who collected Filipiniana Arts and Books are Don Luis Araneta and Don Felipe Hidalgo

    Some of the Books in the Lopez Memorial Library was bought by Don Eugenio lopez from James Wingo a prominent newsman in the Philippines during his time who moved back to Washington D.C. Don Eugenio also bought almost all of the Filipiniana books of Luis Miranda a former Manila resident who settled in Mexico Don Eugenio is a frequent buyer of Celar bookshop in Detroit Michigan owned by husband & wife Morton & Petra Netzorg, Libreria el Callejon of Luis Bardon in Madrid Spain Atre bookshop also in Madrid and form Bookdealers John Howel of San Francisco and Lathrop Harper of New York

  15. Dr. Taddy Buyson Gonzales said,

    July 26, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Nelly Hofilena Lopez-Zamora — the eldest daughter of Don Vicente Lopez and Dona Elena Hofilena and the one for whom the Nelly Gardens mansion in Jaro, Iloilo was named — spent many years in Madrid with her diplomat husband. She was “ilustrada” and appreciated Filipiniana in its various forms. She enthusiastically collected the paintings of Juan Luna and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo as well as old Filipino books.

    Nelly’s first cousin Don Eugenio “Ening” Lopez [ Sr. ] bought her collection of paintings and books which went on to form the nucleus of the Lopez Museum.

  16. Enrique Bustos said,

    July 26, 2010 at 3:36 am

    “The Assassination of Governor Bustamante” is now in the National Museum it was donated or loaned by Cecilia Yulo-Locsin.

  17. July 25, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Taddy:

    Oh yes. Both are famous paintings of Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo.

    “La Banca” is the medium size painting showing an oh-so-impossibly-poised “morena” lady with a parasol standing on a boat handled by a hunky boatman [ ala James Yap ] while a mother and her child are boarding it. Completely charming. It is as refined as Hidalgo ever gets. Two versions exist: the more famous one in the Pascual collection and the other in the Ag*stines collection.

    “La Barca de Aqueronte” [ "The Boat of Charon" ] is the big painting showing a mass of naked bodies on a boat in a violent sea, under a reddish sky, being ferried somewhere — obviously not to a country club, but to Hades or Hell — by a dark cloaked figure [ Charon / Aqueronte ]. Sinister, if you ask me, but I like the big handcarved frame. It is in the Central Bank of the Philippines collection.

    Toto Gonzalez

  18. Dr. Taddy Buyson Gonzales said,

    July 25, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Would “La Banca” be different from the “La Barca de Aqueronte”?


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