History and Collection

Who was Jorge B. Vargas?

Photo from Vargas Archives and Memorabilia Collection

Photo from Vargas Archives and Memorabilia Collection

Jorge B. Vargas (1890-1980) was the country’s first Executive Secretary, having served this position during the Commonwealth period.

On March 1, 1978, Mr. Jorge B. Vargas donated his collection of art, stamps and coins, his library, personal papers and memorabilia to his Alma Mater, the University of the Philippines.

In 1983, the University of the Philippines laid the cornerstone for a building that would house Mr. Vargas’ collection, originally displayed in a private museum located in the premises of his residence at the Kawilihan compound in Mandaluyong. The transfer of the objects to the Diliman campus began in 1986. The museum building was formally inaugurated by then President Corazon C. Aquino on February 22, 1987.

A center for Philippine art and culture, its main thrusts are research, exhibition and education.

The Jorge B. Vargas Collections

Signing of the deed of donation in 1978. Image from the Vargas Archives

Signing of the deed of donation in 1978. Image from the Vargas Archives

The Jorge B. Vargas Art Collection consists of oil paintings, watercolors, pastels, drawings, and sculptures consisting of Philippine artistic creativity from the 1880s to the 1960s.

Among the collection are works by late 19th century artists such as Lorenzo Guerrero, Simon Flores, Juan Luna, and Felix Resurrecion Hidalgo. From a later period include paintings done in the 1930s and 1940s most notably by Fabian de la Rosa and Fernando Amorsolo. There are also artworks by Jorge Pineda, Vicente Rivera y Mir and other artists which were referred to as belonging to the “Amorsolo School.” The collection also boasts of modernist works such as those of Victorio Edades, Juan Aralleno, Diosdado Lorenzo, Vicente Manansala along with contemporaries who were active in the 1950s.

The Museum collection also comprises of outstanding works by women artists, recognized masters of semi-figurative art, UP graduates of the 1950s and 1960s and editorial drawings, cartoons, and caricatures. It includes sculptural pieces of Guillermo Tolentino and Graciano Nepomuceno, among other sculptors.

Through this collection, Vargas Museum aims to contribute towards the appreciation of the country’s artistic heritage and to foster an awareness of the history of Philippine art.

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Discussion

One thought on “History and Collection

  1. Hi I’m interested in visiting your museum, also I’d like to know if you house exhibits of Vicente Rivera y Mir? And where to find it?

    Posted by Miguel de guzman | March 23, 2017, 8:07 pm

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"Transpersonal, instructions" is an invitation to participants to experiment with the boundaries between accepted notions of authorship and audience expectation—to play with the performativity of their roles and rethink the various modes of attention they are setting up. Merlinda Bobis is featured in "Transpersonal, instructions" through her works "River, River" and "An Altar for the Desaparecidos." In the video, she performs a retrieval in her one-woman play which she adapted from her novel "Fish-Hair Woman" (2012) and performed in Australia, Philippines, Spain, US, Canada and Singapore (2009-2014). This short film is a document of the 2008 creative development of "River, River" towards a possible community play in collaboration with Filipino migrants in Campbelltown and the Illawarra (New South Wales, Australia) including the Bitabara family, and with filmmaker Virginia Hilyard, sound artist Jane Ulman, composer Sarah de Jong and the Campbelltown Arts Center. "River, River" is a story of mourning and remembering to restore the disappeared to their loved ones during a war that happened more than three decades ago. But this weeping-singing continues to this day and across geographies to retrieve all our beloved lost to war and armed conflict, to summary executions and extra-judicial killings, and to the mindless violation of the lives, well-being and dignity of humans and non-humans alike. We retrieve the bodies, we restore the river.
A few copies of TK Sabapathy's "Writing the Modern" are still available. To purchase, please contact Veronica at 928-1927 during office hours.
ADVISORY: The museum will be closed tomorrow, 16 January 2019, Wednesday, from 12 noon onwards for maintenance. Regular hours resume on Thursday.
"Transpersonal, instructions" is on view at the 1F and 3F Galleries until 1 February 2019. For group tour bookings, please contact vargasmuseum@gmail.com. "Transpersonal, instructions" is an evolving transnational research project that engages with public lectures, exhibition making, education, sonic scores and publishing in contemporary art. The exhibition arises from a series of public lectures at the ICA in London on the production of psychotechnologies, cyber addictions, material feminisms, citizenship and bioinsecurity. "Transpersonal, instructions" encourages a binding thread that resists and resets a world view on uneasiness. It is partly proposing a challenge to the current world order by providing a window into anthropological entanglements, for example those affecting indigenous lives. Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen are London-based artists working across objects, installation, and film. Their practice explores processes of production as cultural, social and political practices; following geological, geopolitical and biological strains within the manufactured landscape to create work that questions the context of its own becoming.
Elizabeth Povinelli of the Karrabing Film Collective gave the keynote address at the "Transpersonal>Postnormal Times", a symposium held on 15 December 2018. This program is the collateral activity of the exhibition "Transpersonal, instructions" which is on view at the Vargas Museum until 1 February 2019.
The Vargas Museum Permanent Art Collection at the 2F Main Gallery is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 9am-5pm. For group tour bookings, please send your inquiries to vargasmuseum@gmail.com.

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