When Guillermo met Woodrow

A small mother-and-child statue (“Pax”) sculpted by National Artist Guillermo Tolentino – the artist’s gift to President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 – can be found here at the Woodrow Wilson House. Mr. Tolentino once worked as a waiter at a restaurant near Rock Creek Park and a regular customer – one of Mrs. Wilson’s staff – helped set a meeting between Mr. Tolentino and the president. An account of this meeting appears in a 1927 issue of Philippine Education Magazine (“With the statue under my arm…I walked up the White House steps, and was shown into the blue room.”). President Wilson seemed “greatly pleased” and promised “he would do anything to help” Mr. Tolentino and his plans for further studies. And he did in fact help arrange Mr. Tolentino’s art scholarship at the Ecole de Beaux Arts.

Phil_Statue_sm

Photo credit: Collection of Woodrow Wilson House, A National Trust Historic Site

5 - Woodrow Wilson House

Photo credit: Private collection

Further information

Woodrow Wilson House. 2340 S Street, NW, Washington, DC. Open to the public. For more information on entrance fees and hours, visit their website.

References

The Woodrow Wilson House, archival documents; Ambeth Ocampo (2000) “A stroll through Wilson House,” Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 28; Manalo-Castor, L. (2011) “Guillermo Estrella Tolentino: A Classic of His Time,” Artes de las Filipinas; Rodolfo Paras Perez (1976) Tolentino (Malolos: The National Art Foundation of Malolos).

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