Painting the Town Filipino

In addition to Guillermo Tolentino’s “Pax” at the Woodrow Wilson House, the Blanco murals at the National Shrine, and Pacita Abad’s paintings at the World Bank, the works of other eminent Filipino artists can be found around DC. Fernando Amorsolo’s 1946 portrait of the last Governor General of the Philippines and U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Frank Murphy is in the art collection of the U.S. Supreme Court. It is currently on display at the Solicitor General’s Office (950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW). The works of Alfonso Ossorio—according to the National Gallery of Art, “a member of the first generation of abstract expressionist painters” and Jackson Pollock’s contemporary and friend—can be found among the collections of the National Gallery of Art (4 Constitution Ave NW) and the Phillips Collection (1600 21st Street, NW), though they may not be currently on display. Galo Ocampo (expressionist painter and “a leader in the Filipino modern art movement after world War II”, according to the Washington Post) lived in Arlington in the 1980s and was a parish member of St. Anne’s Catholic Church. The early works of Anita Magsaysay-Ho, Jose Joya, and Romeo Tabuena were exhibited by DC galleries in the 1940s and 1950s and were received warmly by art critics, much like Juan M. Arellano’s watercolor exhibit at the Arts Club of Washington decades earlier.


Associate Justice Frank Murphy (1946) By Fernando C. Amorsolo, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States



Smithsonian Instution Catalogue; “Couldn’t Dine Like This Every Night” By Marie McNair, The Washington Post, May 16, 1953: p. 20: “Veteran and Tyro Show Skills” By Jane Watson Crane, The Washington Post, Jun 13, 1948: pg. B8; “Gres Ending Fine First Season” By Leslie Judd Portner The Washington Post, Jun 8, 1958: p. E7; World Bank Art Institutional Collection Catalogue; Encyclopedia of Asian American Artists (Greenwood 2007); “Art Spaces” The Washington Post,  Jun 23, 1989: p. 48; “Town Topics: Nona Quarles Airs Her Skill”, By Marie McNair, The Washington Post, Jul 20, 1957: pg. B3; “Romulos Introduce Houseguests” By Muriel Bowen, The Washington Post, Jun 29, 1957: p. B3.

Digital artifacts

Click here to view Alfonso Ossorio’s works in the Phillips Collection.

Click here to view Alfonso Ossorio’s Perpetual Sacrifice (1949) in the National Gallery of Art’s collection.

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