Juvenal Sanso features Breton Houses in latest exhibit
The oeuvre in the current works of renowned painter and Modernist icon Juvenal Sanso can be seen as a new high point in the artist’s event filled life. His latest exhibit,“Breton Houses” is a logical emotional progression in Sanso’s creative journey which started from the darkness of his Black Period paintings, his strong expressionist paintings that arose from the trauma he experienced during the horrors of World War II. It was only starting in the 1960s and not after spending twenty-four of the most meaningful summers in his life (from 1960-1984) at the home of Yves le Dantec and Agnes Roualt in the Brittany seacoast that Sanso, tortured as he had been from the pain of war, learned to calm his soul. From that tranquil period, Sanso moved on to paint another phase in his artistic career, or the period that art historians refer to as the artist’s joyous period.
Just when the art community thought that Sanso had exhausted his inspiration, a little less than a decade ago, he presented a new series of works and introduced to the world his Moderno series. Moderno meant a return to his strong modernist roots, In these works, most of them revisiting vistas and landscapes he had seen in the past or places he had traveled to, Sanso gives a refreshing and much vitalized visual interpretation using highly exaggerated colors and compositions. Always succeeding in being several steps ahead even of himself, Sanso never fails to surprise everyone.
“Breton Houses” which starts on the 27th of July and runs until the 3rd of August 2012, will have an artist’s reception on the 31st of July, Tuesday, 6:30 P.M. at the Archaeology Wing, 2nd Floor of the Power Plant Mall. He brings his Moderno series to a much higher level, preparing works that, with their stark honesty, bordering almost on the spiritual. “Breton Houses” is presented by Galerie Joaquin, www.galeriejoaquin.com Tel:723-9418 or 723-9253. The landscapes he creates and presents in “Breton Houses” are not to be viewed as specific paintings of particular houses in Brittany specially since Sanso is now painting mainly from his imagination and memory. “Breton Houses” are thus metaphors for the peace and tranquility he experienced during his stay on the northern coast of France. The landscapes he paints today are part of his search for the idyllic, a soothing balm for the restless and tired spirit not only of artists but of the human psyche. In “Breton Houses“, Sanso paints the essence of calmness, painting what every man’s dream of the perfect place should be.
Sanso re-explores the meaning of warmth and comfort that those twenty-four summers have meant for him, creating works based more on those feelings than any actual location. Thus his new works conform to these emotions – of the idyllic place in one’s mind where one goes to relax – rather than a mere photocopy of an existing landscape. In this way, Sanso remains true to his expressionist ideals—relying on feeling and emotion to guide his steady, gifted hand.
The landscapes on display show just how far the artist has come in his practice. While elements of his earlier works are certainly there – Breton architecture, the affinity towards the coast, the famous Sanso moon – the calm his newer paintings in this series invokes is reminiscent of his experiments in color that stems from the Moderno series. This makes the new entries of the Breton Houses series more nuanced and complex than Sanso’s earlier works. The search for the idyllic is ever present, but Sanso has injected his experiences since into this series. Paradoxically, the series that initiated his rebirth as an artist was itself reawakened.
A renowned painter, Juvenal Sanso is one of the best-known members of the Philippine Modernist movement. Having graduated from the College of Fine Arts of the University of the Philippines, he is contemporaries with National Artists Victorio Edades, Vicente Manansala, Jose Joya, Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, and Napoleon Abueva (his batchmate in UP). His teachers were National Artists Fernando Amorsolo and Guillermo Tolentino.
A foremost master, Sanso has had a long and stellar career capped by a number of awards and recognition including a King’s Cross of Isabella knighthood from the King of Spain, membership into the Order of Chevalier from the French Government, and a Presidential Medal of Merit awardee from the Republic of the Philippines. His works are represented in the collections of some 40 museums in the world including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Cleveland Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institute, the Museum d’ Arte Moderne in Paris, the Rosenwald National Gallery of Washington, and the cultural Center of the Philippines. His collectors include the Rothschild Family, Nelson Rockefeller, Vincent Price, Elsa Schiaparelli, Jean Cocteau and many prominent, American, European and prominent Filipino families.