Vicente S. Manansala,
Cubist Painter and Illustrator
The National Artist referred to in the article "Silay - A Picture of the Past" in The Freeman Lifestyle on Sunday, July 20, is Vicente Manansala, not Fernando Manansala.
Vicente Silva Manansala was honored as "National Artist in Painting" in 1981. He was a celebrated cubist painter and illustrator, considered as the country's pioneer in Cubism.
Born in Macabebe, Pampanga on January 10, 1910, he was the second of the eight children of Perfecto Q. Manansala and Engracia Silva. At the age of 15, he studied under painter Ramon Peralta while doing work painting movie posters at a shop in Manila. He entered the University of the Philippines School of Fine Arts in 1926 and graduated in 1930.
He continued his studies under a UNESCO grant at the École de Beaux Arts in Banff and Montreal, Canada in 1949, and under a French government scholarship at the École de Beaux Arts in Paris in 1950. His training did not end there. In 1960, he received a grant from the United States to study stained glass techniques in New York. He also trained at the Otis Art Institute in 1967, and received another grant in 1970, this time from Germany, to study in Zurich.
Vicente Manansala was one of the Thirteen Moderns led by Victorio C. Edades, and was one of the Big Three in the modernist movement, along with Cesar Legaspi and H. R. Ocampo. In addition, he formed the group of Neo-Realists together with Romeo Tabuena and Anita Magsaysay-Ho. Manansala developed transparent cubism and his works were done mostly in the figurative mode, reflecting the society and the local environment. He favored the styles of Picasso and Cezanne, and believed that the true beauty of art lay in the process of creating it.
He succumbed to cancer on August 22, 1981, in Makati, Metro Manila.
Vicente Silva Manansala