Mr. Paulino Que, “one of the most passionate collectors in the Philippines,” and Finale Art File donated to the University Library through Dr. Patrick D. Flores, Curator, Jorge B. Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center, University of the Philippines Diliman, two exhibition catalogues on Philippine paintings. The titles of the catalogues which were published in limited (300) copies each by Finale Art File are: 1) Figuring the Times: Philippine Paintings, 1996-2009: A Selection from the Paulino Que Collection and 2) Meaning to Modern: Philippine Paintings, 1907-1959: A Selection from the Paulino Que Collection. Art historian, Dr. Flores, wrote the texts of both catalogues.

The first catalogue was published to accompany the exhibition Figuring the Times, held at the Tail and Upstairs Galleries and Video Room of Finale Art File, Warehouse 17, La Fuerza, 2241 Pasong Tamo, Makati City, March 13 – April 3, 2009. Featured artists are Elmer Borlongan, Annie Cabigting, Charlie Co, Louie Cordero, Marina Cruz, Kiko Escora, Kawayan de Guia, Alfredo Esquillo Jr., Nona Garcia, Emmanuel Garibay, Geraldine Javier, Mark Justiniani, Robert Langenegger, Jose Legaspi, Maya Muñoz, Manuel Ocampo, Jose Santos III, Yasmin Sison, Rodel Tapaya, Wire Tuazon, Ronald Ventura and Liv Vinluan. “As art historian Flores’ title suggests, the 22 artworks in “Figuring the Times” signal the triumphal return of figurative art and help us understand our era. These young Filipino painters defy categorization as either Social Realist or Conceptual artists, adopting features of both as they see fit. The dialectics between Social Realism versus Conceptual Art, between Classicism versus Modernism versus Postmodernism, between high art versus popular art, provide the momentum and energy in New Philippine Painting.”

The second catalogue accompanied the exhibition Meaning to be Modern, held at the Finale Art File, March 5-31, 2010. Featured artists are Juan Arellano, Victorio Edades, Macario Vitalis, Ramon Estrella, Diosdado Lorenzo, Vicente Manansala, H. R. Ocampo, Venancio Igarta, Carlos Francisco, Ricarte Puruganan, Galo Ocampo, Victor Oteyza, Constancio Bernardo, Lyd Arguilla, Nena Saguil, Anita Magsaysay-Ho, Manuel Rodriguez, Jose Pardo, Jess Ayco, Alfonso Ossorio, Cesar Legaspi, Romeo Tabuena, Cenon Rivera, Helen Roces Guerrero, Hugo Yonzon, Jr., Fernando Zobel, J. Elizalde Navarro, Arturo Luz, Mauro Malang Santos, Juvenal Sanso, Rodolfo Ragodon, Jose Joya, Ang Kiukok, Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, Lee Aguinaldo, and Rod Paras-Perez. The catalogue “presents 80 works of 36 Filipino masters which are part of the Paulino Que collection. Showing a variety of styles, visions and techniques, the works collectively evoke the Filipino soul in its post-colonial context, influencing succeeding generations of artists and setting the course of the Philippine visual arts. The masters are comprised of National Artists, emigre artists, abstractionists and figurative artists.”

Dr. Flores wrote that the Que collection in this catalogue “tells the story of Philippine modern art in many ways. First it presents its context … second, the collection brings to the fore the personage of the collector, prompting us to regard him not only as a keeper of objects d’art, but more productively as a connoisseur, historian, and inevitably a curator … third, the collection because of its range and quality is able to shape the character of Philippine modern art as truly cosmopolitan, one of the most robust in Asia, rendered dense by different trajectories, and is surely precocious …”

Another welcome donation is the book entitled: The Brilliance of Swedish Glass, 1919-1930: An Alliance of Art and Industry” by Anne-Marie Ericsson and others, edited by Derek E. Ostergard and Nina Stritzler-Levine, and published in 1996 for the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, New York by Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn. This is actually a catalogue published in conjunction with the exhibition The Brilliance of Swedish Glass, 1919-1930: An Alliance of Art and Industry” held at the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts from November 21, 1996 to March 2, 1997. The UPD Library received 10 copies of the work which was solicited by Prof. Florentina P. Colayco, Dean, UP College of Fine Arts. ~~~Rod Tarlit