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Art Terms

Thirteen Moderns

Pioneers of Philippine Modern Art

It was in 1928 that young Victorio Edades (1895–1985), later known as the “Father of Modern Philippine Painting,” returned from his studies in the United States. He worked closely with Galo Ocampo (1913–1985) and Carlos “Botong” Francisco (1912–1969), becoming known as the ‘Triumvirate’ and together they painted several monumental murals. These three founded the “Atelier of Modern Art,” which became the nucleus for the larger Thirteen Moderns group, established in 1937 with the aim of “building an organization that advances modern art in the Philippines” (Edades). The group held regular meetings at a restaurant called the Ivory Tower until disbanding during Japanese wartime occupation. In addition to the Triumvirate members, the Thirteen Moderns group included Hernando “H. R.” Ocampo (1911–1978), Vicente Manansala (1910–1981), Cesar Legaspi (1917–1994), and Anita Magsaysay-Ho (1914–2012), all of whom became representative artists of modern Philippine art. They rejected the then-dominant paintings of exotic rural idylls painted in a Spanish academic style, and instead turn to the reality of the Philippines, took strong steps towards developing their own modernist style based.

Victorio C. Edades "Mother and Daughter" 1926 oil on canvas

Carlos V. Francisco "Progress through Education" 1964 oil on canvas

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