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Home NEWS Events Finding The Lost Art of Gabino Reyes Congson

Finding The Lost Art of Gabino Reyes Congson

For its next Printed Word exhibit and lecture, Filipinas Heritage Library presents “The Lost Art of Gabino Reyes Congson” on September 6, Saturday, 10:30 AM at the 2F Function Room of the Ayala Museum.

Gabino Reyes Congson illustrated popular covers for the iconic Philippine Magazine from 1936 to 1941. As Philippine Magazine editor and publisher AVH Hartendorp wrote, “Mr Congson’s drawings of Manila street characters are noted for their keen observation and humor, and those who understand anything of art will admire the economy and efficiency of the means he employs in transferring what he sees and thinks to his sketch pad.”

Congson was born in 1910 in Catbalogan, Samar to Juan Congson, a bookkeeper, and Paz Reyes. In 1930 he started working at Meralco as a cleaner of tranvias. He rose up the ranks to become meter reader, clerk, chief accountant, personnel manager and assistant vice president, and later, executive assistant to Eugenio Lopez, Sr. Congson retired from Meralco in 1973, after serving for 43 years in the company.

Congson trained with the Landon School of Illustrating and Cartooning and the Federal Schools Inc., both US-based international mail correspondence schools for artists. His works having been compared to Norman Rockwell’s, they are noted for their uniqueness from the mainstream visual art that appeared in Philippine publications of the time.

Gabino Reyes Congson (Photo courtesy of Willy Congson)

The Philippine Magazine readership was composed of American expats, teachers, and academics. It was where up-and-coming Filipino writers like Maximo Ramos and Pura Santillan-Castrence, as well as artists like Fabian de la Rosa and Galo Ocampo, first showed their work.

The exhibit of Congson’s cover illustrations for the Philippine Magazine, as well as memorabilia from his life, will run until December 2014. It will open with a talk by writer, scholar, and museum advocate Felice Prudente Sta. Maria on “Tango Filipino: The Entanglements of Societal Boot Strapping and Political Heel Stomping, 1936-1941.” Regular admission to the lecture is Php 300. A discounted rate of Php 150 is given to students, teachers, and senior citizens. For inquiries and reservations, call (632) 759-8288 loc. 45 (Faye Cura) or 39 (Suzanne Yupangco) or e-mail us at cura.fj@ayalafoundation.org.