Artist Fernando Zobel returns to



Fernando Zóbel. Contrapuntos, the exhibition by Ayala Museum was selected by the organizers of La Biennale di Venezia to be among the 22 collateral events of Biennale Arte 2017 in Venice, Italy from May 13 to November 26.

Fernando Zobel, from the catalogue of the Zobel exhibition at Sala Neblí in Madrid, 1961

Collateral events are additional exhibitions and initiatives presented by non-profit international and national organizations to complement the main exhibition and national participations. This will be the first time a Philippine museum will participate in this much-anticipated global art event.

Year 1962 was the last time Spanish-Filipino artist Fernando Zóbel (1924 to 1984) was in Venice as part of the Spanish Pavilion.

Emboldened by Biennale Arte 2017’s chosen theme, “Viva Arte Viva” that celebrates artists including those who passed away too soon, Ayala Museum thought the timing was right and the context perfect to introduce Fernando Zóbel to a new generation of art lovers.

“This initiative is in keeping with Ayala Museum’s longstanding commitment to sustain interest and offer fresh perspectives in viewing and interpreting the artist’s works,” Mariles Gustilo, senior director of the Arts and Culture Division of Ayala Foundation, Inc., shared to The Sunday Times Magazine.

Focusing on the years 1957 to 1962 when he developed his signature style, Fernando Zóbel. Contrapuntos highlights the unique synthesis and harmony of Asian and Western painting techniques and influences in his works as seen in his “Saetas” and “Serie Negra” paintings.

Apart from his artistic legacy, Zobel is also fondly remembered by contemporaries as an avid and enthusiastic supporter of modern artists in Manila in the 1950s and abstract artists in Madrid in the 1960s. Even when it was not in vogue, he collected the works of young Filipino modernists such as Vicente Manansala, HR Ocampo, and Arturo Luz, who are all now recognized as National Artists in the Visual Arts.

When he finally moved to Spain in 1960, he donated his collection to Ateneo, eventually becoming the core collection of the Ateneo Art Gallery. In 1966, he founded the Museo del Arte Abstracto Español in Cuenca, Spain’s first museum of abstract art. In 1967, Ayala Museum, the museum he envisioned, was established in Makati City.

Fernando Zobel. Contrapuntos is curated by Ditas Samson, senior curator and head of Research and Publications of Ayala Museum, and Guillermo Paneque, an intermedia artist based in Madrid.

The show will be on view at Fondaco Marcello, San Marco 3415, Calle del Traghetto o Ca’ Garzoni, 30124 Venice, Italy.

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