September 27, 2023


Without Art It's Really Boring!!!

Paintings give glimpses at Botong Francisco’s boyhood

4 min read

As the Countrywide Artist’s The Boy of Angono comes at auction this September, we glimpse back again at his childhood—which educated several of his paintings

EA Santamaria | Sep 03 2023

Right before the ascension of Carlos “Botong” V. Francisco as the maker and molder of the heroic, noble Filipino, he was initial the chronicler of the Filipino hometown and its many lovable figures. 

He was constantly, very first and foremost, the most poetic inhabitant of that idealized globe. Rafael Ma. Guerrero in his companion citation for Francisco’s National Artist Award, the 2nd to be specified in the nation, describes his origins in Angono, which lay “some 40 kilometers east of Manila, nestled concerning the northern idea of Laguna de Bay and the rolling foothills of Rizal.” Guerrero described Botong’s provenance as a sleeping fishing village with no more than 4,000 inhabitants—“small by any criteria,” even in the early 1970s. 

Carlos “Botong” Francisco with daughter and grandchild

Botong captured “the limpid rhythm of lifetime in this coastal town,” Guerrero rhapsodized, and the youthful Botong “fished in its waters and camped out on its hills.” 

In Angono, Carlos the long run art learn, was recognized only as Botong, “after an equally darkish-skinned Cainta character observed in the provincial grapevine of the Rizal towns by that appellation.” The child was known additional for his basketball skills than for any effort at artmaking. But he did commence drawing early, which would finally guide him to finding out at the University of the Philippines University of High-quality Arts from 1930 to 1935–the longest time period of time he used absent from his beloved hometown. 

“Pista sa Nayon”, oil on canvas, 1947&#13
“Pista sa Nayon”, oil on canvas, 1947

Guerrero’s citation carries on: “[Botong’s] father was an ex-seminarian, a diploma holder of humanities who, for some private purpose, resolved to settle in this idyllic fishing village to operate on the manufacture of neighborhood wine, ultimately marrying a young Angono female. Botong was five when his father died, an eventuality which strained the family’s situations. Still, Botong was supplied a suitable education an anachronism in pre-war Angono for their boys acquired to fish at the facet of their fathers and lived from the abundant produce of the lake.”

“Pastoral”, oil on canvas, 1933&#13
“Pastoral”, oil on canvas, 1933
“Siesta”, oil on canvas, 1938&#13
“Siesta”, oil on canvas, 1938

Considerably, in his youth, Botong was among the just seven boys from his hometown who went to faculty. And there are traces of these boys in Botong’s paintings of the time period : sleeping siestas on tall trees, becoming a member of in the town’s colourful proceedings, its fiestas, and pilgrimages. The boys show up in cameos, catching their 40-winks in rough-hewn buckets, borne along the a variety of parades, at other occasions, faux-actively playing with the town band, its “Banda Uno” place with each other by Angono’s other favorite son, musician Lucio San Pedro and Botong’s cousin. They supply playful counterpoint to the lyrical renditions of the grownups at perform and at perform and are to be located in the earliest of Botong’s performs, “Siesta” (1933) and “Pastoral (1933) and also “Pista sa Nayon” (1947) “Pilgrimage to Antipolo” (1959) and “Banda Angono” (1959). Botong’s earth of Angono is truly seen (and appreciated) via the eyes of these harmless lads.

Juan Marcos Arellano with his wife Natividad Ocampo&#13
Juan Marcos Arellano with his spouse Natividad Ocampo

Salvador Juban, his very long-time protegé and artist assistant, would usually further recall, Botong usually painted from daily life and the factors he realized.

The Botong get the job done up for bids this thirty day period in the Leon Gallery’s The Outstanding September Auction, The Boy of Angono—acquired by Architect Juan Marcos Arellano right from the artist and thence by descent—depicts a youngster donning the large-brimmed straw hat depicted in all of Botong’s energetic scenes. Here the boy sits, eyes somewhat downcast, carrying a long stick (patpat) and sitting beside an elaborately woven basket with a straw harness that potentially includes a large dama juana bottle.

Architect Juan Marcos Arellano. Photo from the Arellano Family Collection.&#13
Architect Juan Marcos Arellano. Photograph from the Arellano Household Collection.
The library of the Arellano San Juan home. Photo from the Arellano Family Collection.&#13
The library of the Arellano San Juan household. Photograph from the Arellano Family Selection.

It might as properly be a self-portrait, or a representation of any or all of his playmates in Angono. 

“Mirrored in his is effective is a kindred nostalgia for a vanished grace, the untutored relieve of a people lifted on the bounty of the land and the sea for these types of is the legacy of the painter who, like them, was himself a dreamer of the native desire,” wrote Guerrero. “Botong’s daily life is extremely hard to relate aside from the milieu of his hometown for Angono was as significantly a element and parcel of the man as his memory is now an enshrined phase of the city lore.” 

Architect Juan Marcos Arellano’s San Juan home. Photo from the Juan Marcos Arellano Family Collection.&#13
Architect Juan Marcos Arellano’s San Juan residence. Photograph from the Juan Marcos Arellano Household Selection.
Carlos V. Francisco's Boy of Angono&#13
Lot 62 Carlos V. Francisco’s Boy of Angono. Signed (reduce right). Ca 1933 – 1939. Oil on canvas.  30”x23”(76cmx58cm)

The Wonderful September Auction is happening this September 9, 2023, 2 PM, at Eurovilla 1, Rufino corner Legazpi Streets, Legazpi Village, Makati Metropolis. Preview 7 days is from September 2 to 8, 2023, from 9 AM to 7 PM. For further inquiries, email [email protected] or get hold of +632 8856-27-81. To search the catalog, visit Comply with León Gallery on their social media internet pages for timely updates: Fb – and Instagram @leongallerymakati.

Images courtesy of Leon Gallery

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