National Artists from the Ambeth Ocampo Collection

Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 to Monday, 26 Feb 2024

Mr & Mrs Ching Tan Gallery, UGF

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A bequest is a promised or planned gift made through a provision in one's will or living trust. This is one of the simplest and easiest ways of supporting cultural organizations such as a museum.

Ateneo alumnus Ambeth R Ocampo, renowned professor and historian, started collecting art, books, canvases and ephemera on a college student’s allowance. His collecting was informed by his research and nurtured by his friendship with writers and intellectuals far older than himself: Emilio Aguilar Cruz, Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil, Teodoro A. Agoncillo, Doreen G. Fernandez, Nick Joaquin, E. Arsenio Manuel, Odette Alcantara, Petronilo Bn. Daroy, F. Sionil Jose, and Gilda Cordero-Fernando.

In the course of planning for Areté, Ocampo offered to bequeath to the Ateneo Art Gallery (AAG) a significant part of his personal collection of art and antiquities that spans a wider scope -- from the 19th century to the present. Cognizant of its stature as a modern art museum, he offers his bequest as a challenge to the notion of the "modern.”

When asked why works from the Ambeth R Ocampo bequest seem out of sync with the rest of the permanent collection he explained: "To put it simply, I see the AAG as a gateway to re-examine the idea of the 'modern.’ Looking back into Philippine Art history into Fernando Zóbel's time, many “modern” artists reacted to or saw themselves in opposition to Fernando Amorsolo and the Amorsolo school they derided as 'conservative' and 'old' but placing the works in context, in a longer time frame... My modest collection attempts to fill in the gaps in the AAG Permanent collection that will hopefully grow into a survey collection that will someday tell the story of Philippine Art."

The works featured in this gallery showcase a selection of works by National Artists. Except for Guillermo Tolentino, featured artists are among the main proponents of Philippine modernism.