Author: Daniel Devela

Virtual Exhibition Opening and 3D Tour | Passages: Celebrating the Artistic Journeys of Betsy Westendorp

Virtual Exhibition Opening and 3D Tour | Passages: Celebrating the Artistic Journeys of Betsy Westendorp

Friday, 29 January 2021

Type:
Virtual Reception and 3-D Tour Launch

Date:
29 January 2021

Venue:
Zoom Webinar and Facebook live

Time:
4:00 P.M. (GMT+8)

Duration:
60 minutes

Register

The Metropolitan Museum of Manila launches the retrospective exhibition of the celebrated and beloved Spanish artist Betsy Westendorp titled “Passages”. Over 100 artworks spanning more than sixty years of Ms. Westendorp’s illustrious painting career form the retrospective collection curated by Dannie Alvarez, and featured in a catalogue written by art critic Cid Reyes. Her great body of works consists of portraits of the society elite of Madrid and Manila, her landscapes of Philippine terrain, seascapes of Manila Bay, her colorful celebration of Philippine flora, in particular the various species of the native orchid, and, literally in the sunset of her years, the grand symphonic cloudscapes across Philippine skies.
 
Join us in the virtual exhibition opening, which will feature a brief interview with the artist and a 3D virtual tour of the exhibition.
 
 
The Metropolitan Museum of Manila is closed to the public until further notice following the announcement of General Community Quarantine in Manila. Visit us at http://metmuseum.ph, and follow us through our social media accounts for updates on our online programming.

 

Patrons

The exhibition is presented by the Metropolitan Museum of Manila with the support of Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corporation, and the De La Salle University Publishing House.

Patrons: Alay Kay Inang Maria Foundation, Ramon Antonio, Antonio and Maricris Brias, Rosemarie T. Delgado, Jay and Ana De Ocampo (of Wildflour), Raul and Joanna Francisco, Randy and Irene Francisco, Antonio and Linda Lagdameo, Jaime Ponce de Leon, Alfonso and Yolanda Reyno, Beatrice Roxas, Carlos and Isabelita Salinas, Rick and Bonnie Santos/Santos Knight Frank, Teresita Sy-Coson, Steve and Loli Sy/ (Focus Global, Inc.), Bienvenido Tantoco, Sr. (SSI Group, Inc.), Rico and Nena Tantoco (Sta. Elena Golf & Country Estate), Wilfred and Kerri Uytengsu, Randy and Pia Young, and Jaime and Bea Zobel de Ayala.

Passages: Celebrating the Artistic Journeys of Betsy Westendorp

Passages

Celebrating the Artistic Journeys of Betsy Westendorp

Curated by Dannie Alvarez
Exhibition and catalogue written by Cid Reyes

View the exhibition online through our 3-D Virtual Tour:

Exhibition Notes

The Metropolitan Museum of Manila presents the retrospective exhibition of Betsy Westendorp, a beloved artist born in 1927 in Madrid, Spain. By virtue of her marriage to Spanish-Filipino Antonio Brias in the 1950s and a lifetime residency in Manila, Westendorp has through the decades become a perceptive observer and, more importantly, an active participant in the Philippine art scene. As such, Westendorp has produced and shared with the Philippines an astonishing body of works, now highlighted in PASSAGES: Celebrating the Artistic Journeys of Betsy Westendorp.


In 1976, His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain bestowed on Betsy Westendorp the distinguished Lazo de Dama, an exclusive Order and the equivalent of knighthood for women. Beyond measure, Westendorp has enriched the artistic heritage of her adopted country, the Philippines. In recognition of the artist’s valued contribution to Philippine art, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo awarded her with the Presidential Medal of Merit in 2008.


The exhibition gathers Westendorp’s portraits of the society elite of Madrid and Manila, her landscapes of Philippine terrain, seascapes of Manila Bay, her colorful celebration of Philippine flora, especially the various species of the native orchid, and, literally in the sunset of her years, the grand symphonic cloudscapes across Philippine skies. Over 100 artworks of the artist’s illustrious painting career form this retrospective collection, celebrating her journeys that span more than sixty years of prolific art practice.

Sections
  • Portraits: Confronting Mortality

    By her own admission, Betsy was first a portraitist before becoming a painter of flowers. Evidence abounds in the many early portraits of her own family. Of the excessive personal ornamentation of attire and jewelry of the nineteenth century, she will have little use. In truth, she has a discrete distaste for it. That type of Philippine portraiture goes against the grain of her painterly reserve. Betsy believes that at its core the art of portraiture is about character, personality, identity, dignity, essential nature—and all these, as it were, written all over the face.

    For Betsy, presence is all. It is the foremost reason why she stages the sitter as a solitary figure, bereft of any external appurtenances that only tend to detract attention from the subject of the portrait. No props to buttress any preconceived glamorous scene—for there is to be none. Occasionally, when Betsy feels it proper, the subject is seen against a lavish flutter of orchids. Otherwise, for the sitter, Betsy envisions not a physical space that will perforce situate the subject in real time; rather, she creates a dream landscape, a vision of an individual impervious to discerning or intrusive gaze, remote somehow, outside of time. Upon completion, the portrait often assumes the character of an apparition.

  • Landscapes and Seascapes: Nature Beautified by Art

    Of the beauty of Betsy’s Taal scenery, it seemed as if she had “transported” her critic-friend Elena Flores to the actual place, as indeed she was in transport when she rhapsodized:
    “There is a special beauty in these paintings. Although it is usually said that nature imitates art, here we can say that nature is beautified by art. Taal Volcano is studied in its different moments: at sunset from the town of Tagaytay, in broad daylight, at dawn and from diverse angles. The hues of blue, the skies, the mists that envelop some dusks and dawns show the crater’s silhouettes and the tiny flowers by a brook, the kakawate tree surrounded by greenery and in its branches with pink flowers embellish the Taal’s perspective and the smaller volcano craters that emerge from the lake’s surface. The fire tree also adorns a few scenes, from a piece of land that frames the volcanic panorama under cloudy skies.”

  • Landscapes and Seascapes: Nature Beautified by Art

    Corollary to the seascapes are the underwater scenes where Betsy finds a distinct pleasure in limning the shapes and whorls of seashells. Often Betsy isolates the image of the nautilus, singly in its contained glory as pure form, taking particular delight in its minute detail. Till her late eighties, Betsy Westendorp would still swim daily in the residential building’s swimming pool. For sure, the activity is one physical exercise that keeps her, in the autumn of her years, in good stead. Submerged in the pool’s clear waters, Betsy can luxuriate in the bliss of long-ago memories when, with her paintbrush and colors, she can summon, gracefully, the wondrous sea into her art.

  • Flowers: In Perpetual Bloom

    Whilst in the beginning she has painted a variety of flowers, such as the hydrangeas, poppies, peonies, birds of paradise, azaleas, irises, sunflowers, and water lilies worthy of Monet, the best of Betsy’s works are dominated by the orchid, forming a large part of her oeuvre. This hothouse tropical flower is ultimately the subject, the image, that drove her floral art to its peak of excellence. It will not be an exaggeration to claim that, having journeyed to distant Philippines, Betsy was to find the subject that she was born to paint. This was itself, according to the French poet and critic Charles Baudelaire, “half of the work done.”

    “The flowers die so soon…,” rued Van Gogh. Betsy too was aware of that. She did the thing that would keep her flowers ever fresh and imperishable: she bred them in her memory. Like some avid botanist, she had closely studied their physical structure and preserved them not only in her memory bank, impervious to the changing seasons and the passage of time. Betsy absorbed their essence, internalized them consciously and subconsciously, to fuel her aesthetic engine. Thus, all her flowers are painted from memory, where they are always present and in perpetual bloom.

  • Atmosferografias: The Search for Celestial Space


    It was the late Elena Flores, the distinguished Spanish critic, who christened the heretofore prosaic series “Cloudscapes” with something that transcended the visible world. Flores ascribed to the series the label “Atmosferografias.” Flores wrote, “After searching in several Spanish dictionaries of the 20th and 19th centuries where I found nothing, until, at last, there it was, in a dictionary published in 1852. Inscribed in the fourth meaning of the Spanish word for ‘atmosphere’—as a generic word—it specified its derivations into the word atmospherograph, which means: ‘Description of the atmosphere and its qualities.'”

These section notes are excerpts from the forthcoming Passages: Celebrating the Artistic Journeys of Betsy Westendorp catalogue written by Cid Reyes, co-published by the Metropolitan Museum of Manila and the De La Salle University Publishing House.

Acknowledgments

The exhibition is presented by the Metropolitan Museum of Manila with the support of Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corporation, and the De La Salle University Publishing House.

Patrons: Alay Kay Inang Maria Foundation, Ramon Antonio, Antonio and Maricris Brias, Rosemarie T. Delgado, Jay and Ana De Ocampo (of Wildflour), Raul and Joanna Francisco, Randy and Irene Francisco, Antonio and Linda Lagdameo, Jaime Ponce de Leon, Alfonso and Yolanda Reyno, Beatrice Roxas, Carlos and Isabelita Salinas, Rick and Bonnie Santos/Santos Knight Frank, Teresita Sy-Coson, Steve and Loli Sy/ (Focus Global, Inc.), Bienvenido Tantoco, Sr. (SSI Group, Inc.), Rico and Nena Tantoco (Sta. Elena Golf & Country Estate), Wilfred and Kerri Uytengsu, Randy and Pia Young, and Jaime and Bea Zobel de Ayala.

Taking Care of Ourselves: Art and Community

Taking Care of Ourselves: Art and Community

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Type:
Webinar, Panel Discussion

Date:
December 19, 2020

Venue:
Zoom Webinar

Speakers:
Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan, Rocky Cajigan, Charlie Co, Kublai Millan, and Isa Lorenzo

Moderated by:
Patrick D. Flores

Time:
4:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M.

Duration:
120 Minutes (approximately)

Artists, curators, and art managers navigate a whole ecosystem of relationships with other agents, stakeholders, and sometimes, whole institutions. As we go about balancing often multiple roles and personal ethics, our ways of working may at times lead to unavoidable frictions and other challenges that are part of the dynamic process of partnership. Shared objectives require us to negotiate, compromise and deal with various tensions while at the same time care for our own personal goals and vision. How do we go about managing and building these hopefully symbiotic exchanges, and how does the sector take care of individuals in this challenging period?

This discussion will bring together artists, art managers, and gallerists to discuss the relationships between various stakeholders in the artworld in different places in the Philippines, the current systems of collaborations as well as the challenges it entails.

This event is FREE and OPEN to the public. Register here to tune in on Zoom or click ‘going’ in our event page to be notified once we go live!

‘Taking Care of Ourselves’ is the first installment of ART AND COMMUNITY, a series of dialogues that examine and explore the ecology of relationships within the Philippine artworld and its ties to society.

This webinar is organized by Metropolitan Museum of Manila and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts through the Philippine Arts in Venice Biennale (PAVB).

#METmanila #ArtForAll #ArtAndCommunity #ArtPH

A Call to Transform: Manila Museums Summit 2020

A Call to Transform: Manila Museums Summit 2020

Tuesday to Friday, 27 to 30 October 2020

Type:
Regional Museum Summit

Date:
27 to 30 October 2020

Venue:
Zoom Webinar

Time:
9:00 AM to 12:00 NN

Duration:
180 minutes (approximately)

Register

We invite museum professionals to participate in the exchange of ideas on the issues, challenges, and opportunities concerning the museum community. The summit envisions to cultivate a critical understanding on the directions museums are moving towards and the strategies implemented by different institutions in adapting to these precarious times. The event brings together museum and cultural leaders across the globe to lead a series of dialogues which aim to support museums as we re-orient our programs and objectives—not only to re-define but also to re-invigorate our roles within our communities.

The Manila Museums Summit 2020 will be hosted via Zoom with livestreaming on Facebook. Click going in our Facebook event page to be notified once we go live! 

Or join us on Zoom! Register here.

For more information regarding the program and participation mechanics, kindly refer to the registration booklet.

#ACTMMS2020 #MGM2020PH #MuseumsAndGalleriesMonth #METmanila

Partners & Sponsors

A Call to Transform: Manila Museums Summit 2020 is brought to you by the Metropolitan Museum of Manila and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) in collaboration with the Alliance of Greater Manila Area Museums (AGMAM) and with the support of De La Salle University Publishing House.