Philippine National Artist, Arturo Rogerio Luz
National Artists: Arturo R. Luz [Cultural Heritage]
Arturo R. Luz, painter, sculptor and designer, received the title of National Artist in Visual Arts in 1997. Member of the Neo-Realists and the Thirteen Moderns, a group of modern artists established in 1938 and led by Victorio C. Edades, he described himself as “semi-representational, semi-abstracted.” He is best known for his linear art and his series on street musicians, vendors, cyclists and carnival performers, but also sculpted using wood, concrete and metal. His works are characterized by sophisticated simplicity and exemplify sublime austerity in their expression and form.
Luz was born in Manila on November 20, 1926. He began his lessons in painting under painter Pablo Amorsolo, brother of National Artist Fernando Amorsolo. He went to the University of Santo Tomas School of Fine Arts, then received a scholarship at the California College of Arts and Craft in Oakland for a 3-year diploma in art program. He continued his education at the Brooklyn Museum Art School in New York in 1950, and at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris in 1951.
He began with figurative artworks, but went on to develop abstraction. It was in Paris that he had his first one-man exhibit of drawings at the Galerie Raymond Duncan in 1951. He held his second solo exhibition at the Manila Hotel when he returned to the Philippines in the same year. In 1960, he put up the Luz Gallery, wherein many contemporary works were showcased. He had the following objectives when he founded the gallery: to display paintings that deserve to be exhibited, to give approval and recognition to genuine talent, and to develop taste with a degree of critical judgment.
Among his achievements are three first prize awards at the Art Association of the Philippines Annual Competition from the 1950’s to the 1960’s. In addition, he received several foreign scholarship grants, including those from Spain in 1953, Italy in 1963, and the United States in 1963. He also joined various exhibitions abroad, including the Philippine Cultural Exhibition held in New York in 1953, Arte de America y España in 1963, the 11th Sao Paolo Biennale in 1971, the Tokyo International Print Biennale in 1974, and the 8th British International Print Biennale in 1984. Another distinction is a one-man exhibit he held at the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City in 1981.
[Images: Crucible Gallery]