May 4, 2007

By Jack Teotico

Internationally renowned artist Juvenal Sanso was recently awarded the distinguished Cross of Isabela for his outstanding accomplishments in the arts by the Spanish King, His Excellency Juan Carlos.

The special award is also in recognition of the artist’s exemplary work across national boundaries, and is akin to a knighthood or to the Member of the British Empire (M.B.E.) given by Her Majesty, the Queen of England. This is the second award of this nature that Sanso has received. Last June 2006, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Merit by Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

In honor of this accomplishment, Galerie Raphael (2nd Floor of Serendra Piazza Mall, Fort Bonifacio Global City, Tel. 856-3034) is holding a special exhibit of works by Sanso in a show that opens Friday, May 4, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. The show, entitled “Summer”, features 40 of Sanso’s paintings in acrylic on canvas and acrylic on paper. The exhibit runs until May 18. The preview for interested parties starts April 30.

Summer is a subject very close to Sanso’s heart. As a child growing up in pre-war Manila, he spent several memorable summers swimming in the Pasig River or in the mountain creeks of Montalban during family outings. The violence and horror of the Second World War traumatized the young painter, and his earlier paintings reflect his own struggle with dark emotions and overwhelming grief. It was during this period of grotesque and almost hostile imagery that Sanso became the country’s first expressionist.

The dark shades gradually gave way to light in the works of Sanso in the early 1960s when, upon the invitation of Yves Le Dantec and Isabelle Roualt, he would spend summers in the Le Dantec family’s summer villa in the seacoast of Brittany, France. The seaside sojourns with the Le Dantec family proved to be such a tranquil and healing time for the young artist and has inspired many of his most enduring works. The visits to Brittany, which spanned over two decades - the artist spent a total of 24 summers by the sea in Northwest France - have also stirred in the artist a deeper and lasting passion for the season “of plenty, of maturity, of fruitful completeness…” This is evident in the serene landscapes, lush blooms, and bursts of colors that mark his current works.

Among the paintings included in the upcoming “Summer” exhibit are: “The Warmth of Summer”, “Golden Reflections”, “With Generous Sunlight”, “As Afternoon Advances” and “Celestial Fire”.

View Summer art works at Galerie Joaquin website