National Artist Federico Aguilar Alcuaz

National Artist Federico Aguilar Alcuaz by Abstract Aquarelles

Masters are known for their imposing works on canvas. What is not explored, however, is their subtler practice in watercolor. Within the art community, it is well known that watercolor is a difficult medium to work with, so those with exceptional skills find the challenge immensely liberating. In this particular set of works using a variety of techniques, the artist is able to use the medium to present a unique perspective on the then prevailing and established aesthetic, abstracting forms and figures such as still lifes, fruits and lemons as well as mathematical and geometric forms that the artist Aguilar Alcuaz was himself enamoured with.

Indeed one such Master is National Artist Federico Aguilar Alcuaz. One of the most influential figures in Philippine art history, Aguilar Alcuaz (b. 1932; d. 2011) is an artist of immeasurable talent, capable of pioneering innovation in concept and technique. His use of watercolor to create abstract paintings parallels the abstractionist Italo-French aquarelletechniques in a virtuoso display of talent. Aquarelle techniques layer transparencies on each other, and abstracted forms play beautifully to this natural proclivity of watercolor.

Galerie Joaquin exhibits these unique paintings of abstracted forms in watercolor culled from a seminal period in the career of the late National Artist. The works done about four decades ago come from a collector who became a close friend of the artist in his later years. The exhibit, “Abstract Aquarelle” will open at the VIP Room of Galerie Joaquin in San Juan City on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 and run untilApril 22, 2016.

Galerie Joaquin is located at 371 P. Guevarra Street, Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City. For more information, please call (632) 723-9418, or email

Recognized for having influenced an entire generation of artists with a body of works that is critically lauded both here and abroad. Aguilar Alcuaz had the soul of an artist, attaining the pinnacle of mainstream artistic achievement. Having studied at the San Beda College, Aguilar Alcuaz attained a law degree from the Ateneo de Manila in 1955. But a career in visual arts was his destiny, and he moved to Madrid in Spain to study at art at the Academia de San Fernando before establishing his home base in Barcelona in 1956. His complex and nuanced personality – the music lover, the bon vivant, the astute observer of the world around him – has cemented his legend as an artist without peer. He was recognized as an artist whose career spanned a multitude of subjects, forms, and media—including painting, sculpture, monumental tapestries, and ceramics. Known for his mischievous personality and his zest for life, which is reflected in a compelling oeuvre, Aguilar Alcuaz was a trailblazing genius with a cosmopolitan aura that, nonetheless, betrayed his pride in being Filipino.

This landmark exhibit is the first time important watercolor works from the late National Artist will be display in an all-watercolor event. The forms echo Aguilar Alcuaz’s abstract canvases, but the use of aquarelle to layer the forms allow for a haunting organic aesthetic that is reminiscent of the work of Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi.

The exhibit helps to bring about a more complete picture of Aguilar Alcuaz who is already well known for his tapestries, tres marias, oil on board paintings and portraits. This is important to form a holistic idea of what his entire practice encompasses, and to understand fully the genius that is the late National Artist.