Fernando Zobel (Filipino-Spanish, 1924-1984) San Ildefonso, 1962

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Lot 73
Fernando Zobel
(Filipino-Spanish, 1924-1984)
San Ildefonso, 1962

Sold for HK$ 1,063,125 (US$ 137,171) inc. premium
Fernando Zobel (Filipino-Spanish, 1924-1984)
San Ildefonso, 1962
signed 'Zobel', lower left; signed, titled, dated and numbered 'San Ildefonso, Zobel, Mayo 1962, 487', on the reverse.
oil on canvas
61 x 61 cm. (24 x 24 in.)

Footnotes

  • 費南度‧索維爾 聖伊爾德豐索宮 油彩畫布 一九六二年作

    Provenance:
    Private Collection, Beverly Hills, California, USA
    Private Collection, Encino, California, USA
    Acquired from the sale of the above


    "The painterly energy of the Serie Negra paintings (1959-1962) reflect the interest of Zobel's contemporaries like Hans Hartung and Franz Kline. Yet, there is a palpable restraint and control informed by sumi-e arising from Zobel's engagement with Zen Buddhism. The works of Fernando Zobel embody the successful straddling of history and contemporaneity."

    Described as a transnational artist, the Spanish-Filipino painter Fernando Zobel was one of the leaders of the abstractionist movement during his time. His paintings embody elegance and fluidity of gesture and present the perfect harmony between Asian and Western painting techniques. Zobel enjoyed a prolific and successful career, and his artistry has been celebrated internationally, having exhibited in the Philippines, Spain, the United States and Europe – notably at the Venice Biennale in 2017, with his retrospective Contrapountos. An exemplary example of his approach to abstract expressionism, San Ildefonso is a minimal yet lyrical summary of his early practice, where the act of painting is the very subject of his composition.

    While visiting Boston in 1954, he studied briefly at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he witnessed colour-field paintings by Mark Rothko and works of gestural abstraction by Jackson Pollock. Those encounters committed him to modernism as an artist in the second half of the 1950s. Zobel remarked: "I felt obliged to paint but I had abandoned the need to 'represent'" and committed himself fully to abstraction. (Rod. Paras-Perez. Fernando Zobel, Eugenio Lopez Foundation, Inc., Manila, 1990, p.136.) Combining this interest in modernism, with his studies in Chinese and Japanese calligraphy – where he was intrigued by the concept of the 'negative' space as being a vital component of the composition – comes the birth of San Ildefonso.

    Marked with distinctive black ink on the lower half of the canvas, the rest of the painting San Ildefonso is filled with variations of off-whites, recalling the aesthetic of Chinese ink paintings, yet charged with expressionist qualities of gestural abstraction. The manner in which the lines interact with each other while contrasting dynamically against the pale background is captivating.

    The cult of Saint Ildefonso was spread by Iberian missionaries to Saint Ildefonso, Bulacan and San Ildefonso, Ilocos in the Philippines. The saint was canonised after his death in 667, as he had witnessed the descent of the Virgin Mary – who praised him for his devotion and vested him with a special chasuble. The reference of San Ildefonso, which is the name of two municipalities in the Philippines, could be suggestive of Zobel's memories of its landscapes, as it was painted two years after he had left for Spain after being diagnosed with depression.

    Celebrated for his ability to push the potential of lines and shades as means of expression, Zobel continued to strive to reduce forms and scapes to their absolute essence, so as to convey their most essential emotion. Zobel left behind a legacy of abstract paintings that project a sense of immense calm. "Critics have asked me," he once said, "what I did with the anguish in my life. My answer is that I leave it at home where it belongs, since it has nothing to do with my painting." (Seed, John. 'Fernando Zobel de Ayala – Brief life of a peripatetic man of arts: 1924-1984', Harvard Magazine, March-April 2009.)

    黑系列(Series Negra)創作(1959-1962)中的繪畫能量反映了索維爾及同輩藝術家如漢斯哈同及法蘭茲克萊因的時代風格。不過索維爾受禪宗的影響,在畫布上帶著水墨畫的質地,而有一種獨特的沈穩和掌控。 費南度‧索維爾的作品成功橫跨歷史與當代,成就完美的結合。

    被形容為跨國藝術家的西班牙裔菲律賓畫家費南度‧索維爾,是此時期抽象主義運動的領導者。他的作品體現了優雅和流暢,呈現出亞洲和西方繪畫技法的完美結合。索維爾的職業生涯豐富而成功,藝術成就在國際上獲得高度讚譽,作品曾在菲律賓、西班牙、美國和歐洲展出,更在 2017年的威尼斯雙年展上,舉辦藝術家回顧展Contrapountos。 聖伊爾德方索是索維爾抽象表現主義創作的經典作品,為藝術家早期作品的總結,細膩而抒情,其繪畫過程成為創作的核心。

    1954年造訪波士頓期間,索維爾曾在羅德島設計學院短暫學習,親自鑑賞羅斯科的彩色畫布和波洛克的抽象作品。與抽象表現主義的相遇和撞擊,造就索維爾50年代末期投入現代主義的決心。索維爾曾說:「繪畫是必須的,但我已放棄必須完全代表和投入抽象的狀態。」結合現代主義的元素,加上藝術家對中國和日本書法的研究,他為負空間的概念所著迷,並將此作為構圖的重要元素,也造就聖伊爾德方索一作的誕生。

    畫布的下半部分展現鮮明的墨色,其餘的畫面充滿乳白色的變化,不僅表現中國水墨畫的美學,更帶有波洛克抽象表現主義色彩。線條相互對話,與白色背景形成強烈對比,引人入勝。

    聖伊爾德方索邪教組織乃由伊比利亞傳教士傳入菲律賓的布拉干省的聖伊爾德方索及南伊羅戈省的聖伊爾德方索。 聖徒伊爾德方索在西元667年去世後被加封為聖人,因他親眼目睹了聖母瑪利亞的後降臨,聖母瑪麗亞因他的無私的奉獻賜予他神聖的祭服。聖伊爾德方索,指稱菲律賓的兩座城市,或許暗喻著索維爾對當地風景的記憶,本作乃為藝術家離開西班牙兩年後繪製,當時他已被診斷患有抑鬱症。

    索維爾以其對線條和陰影為精準的表現形式而聞名,畢生致力於將形式和景觀簡化至最純粹的本質,以傳達其核心情感。索維爾畢生創作出絕佳的抽象作品,每幅畫作中都帶來極大的平靜感。 藝術家曾說「批評者問過我,我如何處理生活中的苦痛。我說,我將它留在家裡,因為它與我的繪畫無關。」

Saleroom notices

  • This lot will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of Fernando Zobel compiled by the Fundacion Azcona, the Ayala Foundation, and Fundacion Juan March with the catalogue number 62-22 (487).
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Fernando Zobel (Filipino-Spanish, 1924-1984) San Ildefonso, 1962
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