(1930 - 2010)
Oscar Deveza Zalameda was active/lived in Philippines, Mexico. Oscar Zalameda is known for abstract easel painting, murals.
Biography from the Archives of askART
The following text was published in ARTSPEAK By Ramon E.S. Lerma | Updated July 25, 2010 - 12:00 am
Biography from the Archives of askART
For Zalameda, 'art should command a high price'
Oscar Zalameda stunned Manila audiences when he mounted an exhibition of 16 paintings at the old Hotel Filipinas along Roxas Boulevard in the 1960s, charging P7,000 then the price of a VW Beetle for each piece. From the onset of his career, Zalameda firmly believed that artists should be amply rewarded. According to his friend, Wilson Tan, Zalameda remarked that "not everyone knows art, so it should command a high price."
That artists were of a different ilk was to be the guiding principle behind a long career that started very promisingly with pieces that Tan describes as being akin to the works of the late Fernando Zobel. The art appraiser Robert Lane who also saw those early works, thought that the artist showed immense potential. He would be better known, however, for the more popular style that would be his signature: the looser cubist forms that the artist Oscar Salita saw fit to emulate again and again, though never quite capturing the bold and assured color sense of his mentor.
Tan, who works today at the Philippine Stock Exchange, met Zalameda while working as a bellhop at the former Holiday Inn on Roxas Boulevard through the German general manager of the hotel who was married to the daughter of an ambassador. He traces the artist's penchant for the high life rooted in his extended, primarily European, overseas sojourns, thus the Lukban, Quezon native's affectation of inserting the aristocratic "de" in his surname. Such airs went hand in hand with the milieu where he thought he belonged, a perfect case study of the actor who had to play and look the part of someone who commanded a king's ransom for his oils on canvas, and through sheer hubris got what he wanted.
Oscar Deveza Zalameda was born on September 24, 1930, to Eladio Zalameda and Julia Deveza. A Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate of the University of Santo Tomas, he left in 1953 to take further art studies at the Art League of California in San Francisco and the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts and the Sorbonne in Paris. He also studied mural techniques in Mexico in 1955. This would be followed by a series of exhibits in New York, Paris, Barcelona, Hamburg, Monte Carlo and Milan, before returning home to show his work at the Philam Life Pavilion in 1963. The following year, he exhibited at the National Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City, and in 1966, First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos invited him to hold a one-man show at the Malacañang Palace.
Garlanded with his Chavelier Des Arts et Lettres from the French government, Zalameda lived the good life to the hilt, swigging down Johnny Walker, chain- smoking, driving between Lukban and his almost-Rockwell, Makati third floor unit in his Mercedes Benzes, partying with the jet-set.
Tan says that Zalameda left a body of work that he numbers at around 1,000 pieces, the artist turning out no more than 50 works a year. That his subject matter was most often Filipino he attributed to his locale, although he did create noteworthy pieces with foreign subject matter such as his view of a bridge over the river Seine which he exhibited as part of an exhibition sponsored by the Royal Dutch Embassy marking the centenary of Vincent Van Gogh.
Very few people knew the private side of Zalameda beyond the bon vivant veneer apartments in Paris and Rome, and the utensil or plate-throwing society scandal that allegedly found the artist locked behind bars and plastered on the front page. Tan describes the artist as being "fatherly" having underwritten the schooling of many Lukban children, and lending financial support to friends and family.
Zalameda passed away quietly, far from the fawning madding crowd that he cultivated. Ever the showman, one can only imagine that the controversy that hounded him in life and the reclusiveness that attended his final bow will be followed by a rapturous curtain call.
Following is the obituary of the artist.
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Top Filipino painter Oscar de Zalameda, 79, dies
By Delfin Mallari Jr.
Inquirer Southern Luzon
First Posted 12:59:00, 07/11/2010
Filed Under: Painting, Arts and Culture and Entertainment
LUCBAN, Quezon, Philippines
Top Filipino painter Oscar de Zalameda, 79, succumbed to a lingering illness early Saturday morning, a relative disclosed Sunday. Myla Deveza-Balmeo, niece of De Zalameda, said her uncle died at the Mount Carmel General Diocesan General Hospital in Lucena City. He had long been suffering from several illnesses. There was a time that he was also operated on, in Saint Luke's Hospital, several years ago. He was already too old and weak, Balmeo told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in an interview here Sunday morning.
It was learned that the famous painter had been confined at Mount Carmel since May 25. His remains would be brought to the Lucban Catholic parish church on Sunday afternoon for public viewing, according to Balmeo.
De Zalameda, who was born on September 24, 1930 returned to his bucolic hometown at the foot of mystical Mount Banahaw several years ago to spend his remaining years. He built a concrete house along A. Bonifacio Street and had lived in solitude in the company of his maternal nephew, Noel Deveza, elder brother of Balmeo.
"Quezon province lost a famous son", said Governor David Suarez. De Zalameda was among the first recipients of the annual Quezon Medalya ng Karangalan in early 1970s. In 2006, former President Gloria Macacapagal-Arroyo bestowed De Zalameda the Presidential Medal of Merit in a ceremony held at Malacañang for his cultural contribution to the country.
De Zalameda, considered as the favorite artist of former First Lady Imelda Marcos, graduated high school in 1949 at Tayabas High School (now Quezon National High School) in Lucena City. He finished his Fine Arts degree from the University of Santo Tomas and soon became part of the Art League of California, San Francisco.
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