32 V. Cruz St., San Juan, Metro Manila
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Tucked hidden among the narrow streets of San Juan is a museum that showcases masterpieces of a prolific art master of talent. Not quite the usual location to find such an establishment, but nevertheless, offers a cultural and lovely experience to people who have the fondness of art. In addition to the art experience, guests can also feast on delectable and delicious Spanish dishes, purportedly said to be the master's favorites, at the in-house cozy museum cafe. This is Fundacion Sanso, the museum of renowned and multi-awarded Spanish -Filipino art master, Juvenal Sanso.
By sheer size, the museum is dwarfed in comparison by the grandness of the more popular local museums (e.g. National Museum). But what I loved about the place was the modern, well lightened boxy white art space that truly showcases Sanso's pieces. The place is airy with high ceilings. An easy-breezy walk while appreciating the various pieces. Center benches nicely put in gallery centers. It was hard to believe that the 3-storey establishment was repurposed and redesigned from an old huge home into a lovely museum.
Sanso was born in Spain, but began residing in the Philippines since the 1930's. The artist has experienced and witnessed the historical changes in the the country and through his studies abroad. This is quite indicative on the subjects, colors, mood, and styles of his artworks made in various decades. Case in point, his earlier artworks done during World War 2 were darker in nature. His mid-century pieces were quite reflective of societal changes with whimsical and often distorted subjects. His more post-modern pieces are more vibrant, brighter, and "happier" in color.
Even in his mid-80's , Sanso continues to produce beautiful art pieces coveted by ardent art collectors both locally and internationally. Renowned for his surrealistic landscapes exploding with pronounced and vivid colors, he likewise became famous for his intricate etchings and prints. Using various mediums that sum up to distinct and lovely pieces. He is so prolific that the Fundacion Sanso periodically changes the exhibits of the master. When the museum opened, the place highlighted textile print artworks of the artist. This visit, the highlight was the master's etchings and prints. Next month, they plan to do an exhibit of his paintings.
For a private museum, I must say that the pieces on exhibit were well thought of. The artworks were well curated with very informative with interesting details on the artist's influence on particular sets of artworks. There were a number of rooms showcasing works from various periods. More so, some of the artworks are also for sale (quite a delight to ardent art collectors). And for art aficionados who posses Sanso's masterpiece, the artist can authenticate the artwork (quite a relief in this day and age when it has been all over the news that a considerable number of masterpieces of other deceased art masters have been forged and have been auctioned off/sold to unsuspecting art collector victims).
My favorite pieces on display? I must say , I am a fan of his more vibrant art pieces more than his dark earlier mid-century pieces. There were a number of huge pieces that simply pulled me. One was an intricate blue mosaic piece. The art piece, though created by another renowned modern artist, was commissioned to redo a Sanso masterpiece entirely using tiles. Another huge artwork, this time by Sanso, depicting an orange and green floral arrangement with a blue background which somewhat looked like a bright Van Gough. And Sanso's lovely seaside landscape series of Brittany, France.
Fundacion Sanso comes highly recommended to both local and foreign guests who have a fondness for art. Moreover, the place comes recommended for people looking for something cultural and educational conveniently located in the center of town.
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