Shut Up and Take Our Money: Vintage Muscle Cars and the “Holy Grail” of Joyas at Auction

From Model Ts to 30-foot long masterpieces, the fourth installment of The Well-Appointed Life will have you clearing out your checkbook.

by The Rogue Staff

This weekend, The Peninsula Manila turns into the country’s premier auction house as the fourth installment of The Well Appointed Life brings over 500 pieces of rare and vintage art, jewelry, furniture, and automobiles to The Pen from September 23 to 24.

1967 Custom Ford Mustang Fastback “Eleanor”

Now on their fourth year, The Well Appointed Life’s curator and the man behind Salcedo Auctions, Richie Lerma, says that having the event at the famed hotel makes this iteration that much more special. “The fact that history, tradition, and legacy is what’s behind a lot of the pieces that we’ve [assembled], having it in the Peninsula just underscores that,” Lerma says. And in some ways that does ring true. The varied collection adorned and displayed all over the hotel has brought in a certain kind of prestige that goes beyond nostalgia. A look at the lobby entrance alone finds an assortment of vintage muscle cars any alpha male would drool over. It’s a sight that arguably wouldn’t work anywhere else in Makati. “It’s very attractive, and very Peninsula to have all these vintage cars. The 1929 Ford Model T could have been made for the Peninsula, I think.”

1930 Ford Model A Coupe

If you’ve ever found yourself at the center of the Pen Lobby these last few weeks, then chances are you’ve marvelled at perhaps one of the best pieces of the whole auction, Jose Joya’s Cascade. Made sometime in 1965, Lerma says that for many collectors the piece is considered a “holy grail’ due to the thick impasto work done, a technique Joya later on moved away from. “For us to get hold of an abstract expressionist work by Joya… we’re very proud of that. It’s been in at least three museum exhibitions. It currently belongs to a family that has close ties with the Joyas,” teases Lerma.

“Cascade”, Jose Joya (1931-1995)

But perhaps even rarer a piece is the one that many collectors have been whispering about for several weeks. H.R. Ocampo’s Mga Kiti, standing 30-feet long, is the auction’s most talked about piece. Made in the last year of Ocampo’s life, 1978, Lerma says the artwork is an event in itself, an event that quite frankly has rarely been seen. “It’s only been exhibited once. In GSIS, in 1990, if I am not mistaken. It was published also [only] once, in a book to commemorate Ocampo having received the National Artist Award in 1991. Since then the owner has just kept it rolled.” Now, finally albeit briefly, the piece is at the center of The Pen’s third floor gallery, proudly displayed for all to see until this weekend when it will play host to a new owner. “I think at the time, [Ocampo] was looking for a piece of cloth that he didn’t need to actually sew. Usually, for big canvasses, you need to sew it together. So [for this] he used tetoron, which is close to cotton, but it allows you to have this one complete roll. So that the painting itself is one seamless mural. That’s quite exciting to see,” says Lerma. “We’re not trying to say, ‘it’s his last great masterpiece!’ [just] because he passed away in the same year, but to have something like this…” he cuts off, as if to allow everyone else to figure it out for themselves. Masterpiece or not, it is undoubtedly a final opus for Ocampo, and just like everything else at this weekend’s auction, its true value goes beyond even the highest of bids.

The Well Appointed Life happens this weekend, September 23 to 24, at The Peninsula Manila Hotel Ayala corner Makati Avenue, 1226, Makati.

Check out for a full catalogue of pieces up for auction.