Exclusive Selections: Juvenal Sansó

Juvenal Sanso (b. 1929) is one of the best-known members of the Philippine Modernist movement. Born in Reus, Catalonia, Spain in 1929, he moved to Manila five years later, where his family established a wrought-iron business. 

He spent most of his younger years with private tutors, until his enrollment as a special student at the College of Fine arts of the University of the Philippines. From there, he had associations with his contemporaries National Artists 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 recognitions 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 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 Galery of Washington, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines. His collectors include the Rothchild Family, Nelson Rochefeller, Vincent Price, Elsa Schiaperelli, Jean Cocteau, and many prominent American, European, and Filipino families.

Sanso’s unique ability to sublimate the angst and melancholy of his early Black Period works into today’s beautiful landscapes, seascapes, and abstractions, have seen him become one of the most sought-after artists of his generation. The clear progression of the artist’s conceptual inclinations, demonstrated by the transition of monochromatic gloom to multicolored optimism throughout his oeuvre, not only shows the increasingly mature relationship between the artist and his practice—it thoroughly validates a multidisciplinary approach that has experience in textile design and printmaking. Sanso’s burgeoning alignment with expressionism, his increasing international profile, and his many awards from around the world conspire to create a towering figure in Philippine art.