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Art of Negros
A Private Collection of Filipino & Oriental Art
Promoting the Philippine Art to the World

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1931 - 1995
Philippine National Artist for Visual Arts

The name of  JOSE JOYA is synonymous to the best in Philippine abstract expressionist art. He is an artist of innumerable achievements. His countless awards include the Patnubay ng Kalinangan Award during the 4th Centennial of the City of Manila and received the Gawad CCP for Visual Arts in 1991. He was named one of  the Ten Outstanding Asean Artists in 1992. Has had innumerable exhibits in China, Switzerland, Germany, England, Hong Kong, the US and Spain.

He produced an excellent body of bold and lyrical works. Bypassed several times during his lifetime, he was posthumously conferred the title of National Artist for Visual Arts last June 25, 2003, by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Jose Joya was born on 1931 in Manila. As a child, he showed great interest in drawing, using pencils at first and then studying watercolor on his own. Upon entering the UP college of Fine Arts, his "traditionalist" mentors included Guillermo Tolentino, Ireneo Miranda Dominador Castaneda and Virginia Agbayani who taught him the strict discipline of the classical style. But it was during college when he was exposed to the art of innovators like Cezanne who at first repelled him but to which he later developed a liking.


Joya began to mingle with the first group of Philippine Modernists at the now defunct Philippine Art Gallery in the 50s. This pioneering group composed of Hernando Ocampo, Arturo Luz, Anita Magsaysay-Ho, Vicente Manansala and Fernando Zobel de Ayala exerted an influence upon Joya. Competing for attention with the classical approach of his college mentors, he nevertheless distinguished himself as a student, winning the grand prize in the 1952 Shell art competition and graduating magna cum laude.


Joya joined the first exhibition of Non-Objective Art in Tagala in 1953 at the Philippine Art Gallery which also featured Hernando R. Ocampo, Fernando Zobel, Nena Saguil, Lee Aguinaldo, ManueL Rodriguez Sr., and Victor Oteyza. From 1956 to 1957, Joya studied under Zoltan Zepeshy at the CranBrook Academy of Art in Michigan, courtesy of a Fullbright-Smith-Mundt grant. There he finished 12 volumes of sketches, which displayed the influences of Fernando Amorsolo but also displayed a budding individual approach.


Joya took further studies at the Pratt Graphic Art Center in New York. One of Joya's major exhibits during these years, which established him in the art world, was the one inaugurating the Luz Gallery where he presented 69 paintings, some of which pointed to a penchant for the large scale and mural-like proportions.


In recognition of his strong contributions to the visual arts and of his undisputed position as the country's leading abstract painter, he was presented a TOYM (Ten Outstanding Young Men) award in 1961, which was followed by a Republic Heritage Award that same year. Subsequently, he became dean of the UP College of Fine Arts.


Joya was also selected Distinguished Professional Awardee by the UP Alumni Association, listed in several Who's Who in the World, was made a Chevalier dan l'Odre Des Arts et Letters by the French government, Outstanding Fullbrighter in Art, ASEAN Artist in 1990, Gawad para sa Sining Biswal of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, selected Outstanding Filipino for 1992 by the JAYCEE Senate and made University Professor in 1992.


His style has been labelled by many critics as Abstract Expressionist, a school of painting whose most famous American exponent in the 50s was the "action' painter, Jackson Pollock. Joya, however, made his own contributions by introducing lush and brilliant tropical colors characteristic of his homeland. Joya's participation at the government's behest in the 1964 Venice Biennial signified a crucial break for modernism and non-representational art in the conservative Philippine art establishment.


He later advanced towards geometrism in the late 60s complementing this with experiments on textured painting surfaces using rough impasto and primer mixed with sand. The 70s saw an unflagging experimentalism and pursuit of his earlier advances. He experimented with more colorful pieces in 1974, and he worked with acrylic on plywood in 1977.


According to Alicia Coseteng, Joya's experimentation created brash, exhilarating forms and images, as he improvised and perfected his spontaneous technique. What seemed important for him was not merely to develop a personal idiom but to evolve a unique style that would reflect the Filipino artist's mind. Like most of his older contemporaries during the sixties, Joya was in search of a national identity: Like them he wanted to infuse his paintings with that elusive Filipino "soul". The ideal was to draw Philippine abstract expressionism - in all its national undertones - into the international.







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For inquiries on JOYA's works:

Negros Arts Management, Inc. (NAMI)

2391 C.L. Montelibano Ave.
Bacolod City, 6100
Negros Occidental
For Appointment please call:
Mobile (0920) 908-2913
Managing Director: Raymond R. Fuentes
E-mail Address: