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19
Freeway honors Vicente S. Manansala
by Freeway, 2011
Freeway honors Vicente S. Manansala

Vicente S. Manansala
National Artist for Visual Arts 

Vicente Silva Manansala (January 22, 1910 – August 22, 1981) was a Philippine cubist painter and illustrator.

Manansala was born in Macabebe, Pampanga. From 1926 to 1930, he studied at the U.P. School of Fine Arts. In 1949, Manansala received a six-month grant by UNESCO to study at the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Banff and Montreal, Canada. In 1950, he received a nine-month scholarship to study at the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris by the French government.

Manansala consistently worked in the figurative mode, with the exception of a few abstract works. Shunning Amorsolo’s rural idylls, he developed a new imagery based on the postwar urban experience. The city of Manila, through the vision of the artist, assumed a strong folk character. He painted an innovative mother and child, Madonna of the Slums, 1950, which reflected the poverty in postwar Manila. Besides the mother-and child, his subjects included jeepnevs, barong-barong, cockfighters, families gathering for a modest meal, and Quiapo women vendors of various goods. The cubist aspect of Manansala’s work rests largely on the geometric facetting of forms and in the shifting and overlapping of planes. But his facets and planes are broader than in original cubism as they bring out larger rhythms. Here and there, he incorporates linear decorative patterns, as in the ironwork curlicues of gates and windows. In his work, he developed the style of transparent cubism which was generally shared by his fellow neo-realists Cesar Legaspi and Romeo Tabuena. Unlike analytical cubism, which arbitrarily fragments and dissects the figure into complex abstract compositions with only clues of the subject remaining, Manansala stayed close to the figure which he simplified to its basic geometric shape. He went through the black-and-white phase of crucifixions and madonna-and-child paintings, but, on the whole, he used color in all its folk vibrancy, sensuous appeal, and evocative power. As a whole, Manansala reinterpreted or indigenized cubism as he drew his themes from the familiar Filipino environment.

Vicente Manansala was hailed a National Artist of the Philippines in Visual Arts in 1982. He was a direct influence to his fellow Filipino neo-realists: Malang, Angelito Antonio, Norma Belleza and Baldemor.  The Honolulu Academy of Arts, the Lopez Memorial Museum (Manila), the Philippine Center (New York City) and the Singapore Art Museum are among the public collections holding work by Vicente Manansala.
Sources:
Geringer Art Ltd | Biography of Artist Vicente Manansala

Wikipedia | Vicente Manansala

Know more about the Freeway x Manansala National Artist Collectors’ Series Holiday 2011 Collection, read here. Check out what happened at the Special Tribute and Launch held last October 18, 2011, read about the press coverage of bloggers and media here.