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Anita Magsaysay-Ho Fetches P56M At Christie's Auction

How does one remember an artist? Is it by her traits? Her skills and/or body of works? Monetary value of theirs? Through various exhibitions and auctions?

To most, Anita Magsaysay-Ho is remembered as an artist who developed a unique style in painting by using women as a dominant subject. Being recognized as one of the senior modernists and foremost woman artists in the Philippines, Magsaysay-Ho also excels in other media and techniques such as egg tempera, crayon and ink, woodcut, and printmaking.

“Tawanan”/ “Laughter” (1950) | Acrylic on wood | 25 x 19 cm


Her body of works was mostly composed of Filipinas doing everyday activities such as sweeping, pounding rice and harvesting in the field, selling fish and poultry in the market, harvesting fruits, and many more.

Taga-Nayon”/ “Country Folk” (1949) | Oil on wood | 183 x 274.5 cm


Magsaysay-Ho’s works have been part of various auctions and exhibitions locally and internationally. Recently, “Women Feeding Chickens” (1979) was included in Christie’s Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art (Evening Sale) in Hongkong last November 25, 2017. This oil painting was sold at HKD 8,740,000 or approximately PHP  56,000,000.

“Women Feeding Chickens” (1979) | Oil on canvas | 80.5 x 150 cm


Aside from Magsaysay-Ho, Christie’s Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art (Evening Sale) featured notable artists from various parts of the world. Some of which are Wu Guanzhong, Chen Wen Hsi, T’ing Yin-Yung, Sanyu, Zao Wou-Ki, Yayoi Kusama, and other notable artists from the country such as Jose Joya, Vicente Manansala, Hernando Ocampo, Fernando Zobel, and Ronald Ventura.

And also, Sotheby’s Modern and Contemporary Art (Evening Sale) in Hongkong last September 30, 2017 included “Mga Babaeng May Hawak ng Prutas”/ “Women with Baskets and Fruits”. The oil painting was sold at HKD 12,100,000 or approximately PHP 78,000,000.

“Mga Babaeng May Hawak ng Prutas”/ “Women with Baskets and Fruits” (1958) | Oil on canvas | 77 x 102 cm.


Born in Manila, she studied Fine Arts in University of the Philippines School of Fine Arts and pursued graduate studies in Cranbrook Academy in Michigan apart from taking courses in UP School of Design and Art Students’ League in New York City. Magsaysay-Ho is the only woman among the Thirteen Moderns, a collective who put modernist art into the limelight in the 1950s. Some of which are Victorio Edades, Carlos “Botong” Francisco, Vicente Manansala, and Cesar Legaspi.

She passed away last 2009 because of stroke at 97. Magsaysay-Ho and her husband, Robert Ho, owning a shipping business, lived in many countries and became a Canadian citizen which makes her ineligible for a National Artist Award. Anita and Robert have 5 children.

Remembering Anita Magsaysay-Ho takes us to a trajectory of femininity and its empowerment along with nationalism as she used Filipinas and their day-to-day activities as springboard to developing her skills and technique as a notable artist in the Philippine art scene.