SAN FRANCISCO — The Philippine Consulate in San Francisco is now home to two paintings by Philippine national artist Fernando Amorsolo.
These masterpieces were created by Amorsolo in 1938.
Consul General Henry Bensurto said he is more than happy to have these two paintings added to the growing Museo ng Lahing Pilipino located at the 5th floor of the consulate.
“When we say that we would like the community to fall in love with our culture and our heritage. We want that expressed in a visible wa,” said Con Gen. Henry Bensurto Jr.
The retrieval of the Amorsolo paintings was made possible through the Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities program or CPPAA — which is unique to homeland security investigations portfolio.
“They were acquired at the end of World War II in Manila, Philippines by an individual who was a military policeman stationed over there for two years. The individual left after two years and the Philippines. [He] was in California, beginning in 1951. The paintings have been here for 70 years. After he passed away, his son wanted to donate these to the people of the Philippines, so they could be enjoyed by all.”
According to U.S. officials, the process to get the paintings to the Philippine consulate only took about five months.
“June of this year, actually. So, since this wasn’t part of an actual or genuine investigation and there was no illegal activity involved. It was a lot smoother. It was just a matter of lining update. There were some legal documents to transfer them, while also maintaining the anonymity of the donor at his request.”
In keeping with the Consulate’s Spark Connect empower campaign — ConGen Bensurto hopes that the addition of the Amorsolo paintings can bring pride and inspiration, especially to young Filipino Americans.
“When you look at those paintings, you don’t just see the technique in terms of painting, the use of lighting, but a characterization, a depiction, or reflection of how we live our culture, how we live our life in the rural areas. And what you see there is the projection of happiness, cheerfulness, resilience.”
The museum is free to the public and open from Monday to Friday and through special appointments for the weekend.