It’s a fact: artistic work has more value after the artist has died. Perhaps, it has to do with the law of supply and demand. A dead artist can no longer produce additional work so the finite number of work that existed at the time of his death will gain more and more value as more people compete to own a piece. Think Van Gogh, Paul Cézanne and Frida Kahlo, just to name a few.
And “value” may not even be limited to monetary value. For some collectors, art pieces are like prizes and owning one that a lot of others covet is a distinction — a stature like no other.
But that’s other people. I never really cared if an artist is dead or alive, or if he is famous or unknown. For me, it has always been about liking what I see (or hear or read) rather than the reputation of the creator. And that attitude is going to be reinforced even more now after reading how the intrinsic and monetary value of a painting can be manipulated, and how easily the public — including so-called experts — can be duped. Speedy’s cousin, Ramon Sunico (Rayvi to us) has an article in Rogue magazine about a celebrated Filipino painter who never existed.
A synopsis of Ramon Sunico’s article
According to an article published in 1971 Angel Flores died in a motorcycle accident in New York in 1968. His lover, one Sheila Hollister, shipped Angel’s paintings to the two Filipino friends with whom he had kept in touch. Those two friends would subsequently write that 1971 article telling the story of Angel.
The story spawned a television appearance in Elvira Manahan’s Two For The Road and exhibits at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and Joy Dayrit’s Print Gallery in Makati.
In 2011, Ramon Sunico met Angel Flores Jr. Curious about the Sr., Sunico tried to fish for information. What he got was not the “fairy tale” that he expected. There is no Angel Flores; there never was. The myth was perpetrated by the authors of the 1971 article, Ramon Katigbak Jr. and Benjamin Bautista, gallery owner Joy Dayrit and one Ray Albano of the CCP. Katigbak became a Finance Undersecretary and book author; Bautista went into advertising and was, at some point, a Palanca Awards judge. We can only imagine how much money Joy Dayrit made selling the “Angel Flores” paintings and how much commission Ray Albano earned.
But who did the paintings? Read Ramon Sunico’s article and find out.
The tombstone stock photo is from StockXchng.