Salcedo Stories

The Many Colors of Anita Magsaysay-Ho

The Many Colors of Anita Magsaysay-Ho

  • 26 February 2021

These days, coming across an Anita Magsaysay-Ho canvas painting at auction happens but once in a blue moon. Even before her passing in 2012, most of her works could only be found in prominent museums or inside the homes of the most respected private art collectors — they are so prized because they hardly ever come to the market, their owners zealously keeping them as legacy pieces for future generations to enjoy.

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A photograph of Anita Magsaysay-Ho amidst bright yellow blooms taken in 2002 by Photographer Rupert Jacinto

It’s the rarity of ‘The Many Colors of San Francisco’ that makes this large 1997 oil on canvas painting all the more unique and highly sought after. The painting’s theme is also distinctly Anita— as it features not only the renowned modernist’s iconic subject, Filipino women, but also the modernist vanguards’s favorite plant, the now increasingly rare ‘San Francisco.’

ANITA MAGSAYSAY-HO, ’The Many Colors of San Francisco’, 1997, Oil on canvas

The lush plant, seen in its various hues of green, yellow, and deep orange, surrounds two women enthralled in conversation— a vignette of everyday life. It’s this intimate simplicity that sets Magsaysay-Ho’s work apart. As one of the country’s most renowned women visual artists, she dedicated her craft to capturing the very essence of the Filipina— whether she’s at work, tending to her family, or chatting with an amiga in her lush garden— talk about the ultimate ‘plantita’ painting!

The artist loved painting subjects that are full of life— which explains why many of her works of art include local flora and fauna. Photo credit to the Tribute to Anita Magsaysay-Ho Facebook page

The painting was held in such high regard by the artist herself. In fact, she had not only it featured prominently in the book,‘Anita Magsaysay-Ho: In Praise of Women’ by Alfredo Roces, but she is also quoted referring to this masterpiece: “I love the plant San Francisco. There are so many varieties of this plant and they are all so colorful. In this painting, I exaggerated the size of the leaves because I wanted to emphasize how beautiful they are.”

A photo of the book, Anita Magsaysay-Ho: In Praise of Women. ‘The Many Colors of San Francisco’ is prominently featured, captioned with the quote above.

This work will be offered at Salcedo Auctions‘ first major sale of the year, the ‘Important Philippine Art & Furniture’ auction, which will be held on Saturday, 13 March 2021. You can view the full catalogue and register to bid here.