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 Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo  (1855 - 1913)

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Lived/Active: Spain/Philippines      Known for: impressionist portrait, landscape and religious subject painting

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Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo Y Padilla is primarily known as Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Félix Resurrección Hidalgo y Padilla was a Filipino artist. He is acknowledged as one of the great Filipino painters of the late 19th century, and is significant in Philippine history for having been an acquaintance and inspiration for members of the Philippine reform movement which included José Rizal, Marcelo del Pilar, Mariano Ponce and Graciano López Jaena, although he neither involved himself directly in that movement, nor later associated himself with the First Philippine Republic under Emilio Aguinaldo.

His winning the silver medal in the 1884 Madrid Exposition of Fine Arts, along with the gold win of fellow Filipino painter Juan Luna, prompted a celebration, which was a major highlight in the memoirs of members of the Philippine reform movement, with Rizal toasting to the two painters' good health and citing their win as evidence that Filipinos and Spaniards were equals.

Hidalgo was born in Binondo, Manila on February 21, 1855. He was the third of seven children of Eduardo Resurrección Hidalgo and Maria Barbara Padilla. He studied in the University of Santo Tomas. He studied law, which he never finished, received a bacheller en filosifia in March 1871. He was simultaneously enrolled at the Escuela de Dibujo y Pintura. In 1876, he previewed his La barca The Native Boat, Vendedora de lanzones Lanzones Vendor and other paintings at the Teatro Circo de Bilibid before they were sent to the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania of that year. In 1878, he painted the poignant and well-crafted Los mendigos (The Beggars).

In 1877, Resurreccion Hidalgo was awarded second place in the contest for best cover design for the de luxe edition of Fr. Manuel Blanco's Flora de Filipinas ("Plants of the Philippines"). In 1879 he left for Spain as a pensionado in fine arts of the Ayuntamiento of Manila.

His Las virgenes Cristianas expuestas al populacho (The Christian Virgins Exposed to the Populace), was awarded the ninth silver medal at the 1884 Exposición General de Bellas Artes in Madrid. This showed a group of boorish looking males mocking semi-naked female Christians, one of whom is seated in the foreground, with head bowed in misery. In the same exposition, Luna's Spoliarium was awarded a gold medal.

In the Exposición General de las Islas Filipinas in Madrid in 1887, Hidalgo presented La barca de Aqueronte ("The Boat of Charon"),1887, and Laguna estigia ("The Styx"), 1887, for which he received a gold medal. La barca was again shown at the Exposition Universelle in Paris and was awarded a silver medal by an international jury. In 1891 it was accorded a diploma of honor at the Exposición General de Bellas Artes of Barcelona. This painting also received a gold medal in the International Exposition of Fine Arts in Madrid during the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America.

He exhibited Adios al sol ("Farewell to, the Sun"), 1891 at the Exposición Internacional de Bellas Artes in Madrid in that year and El crepusculo ("The Dawn"), 1893, at the Universal exposition in Chicago, also in that year. He showed both paintings again at the Exposición Artistica de Bilbao in August 1894. In the Exposición Regional de Filipinas in Manila in January 1895, Hidalgo was represented by his paintings done in the grand romantic manner. In April of the same year he exhibited Oedipus y Antigone ("Oedipus and Antigone"), El violinista ("The Violinist"), Cabeza napolitana ("Head of a Neapolitan"), Cabeza del viejo ("Head of an Old Man"), Un religioso ("A Religious"), and others at the Salon at Champs-Élysées, Paris.
Hidalgo received a gold medal for his overall participation at the Universal Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri in 1904. His El violinista was individually accorded a gold medal.

In 1912, he visited his relatives in Manila for six months, after which he hurried back to Paris. His mother, who had not seen him for 30 years, wanted him to be with her in her last days but he had to leave. The following year, Resurrección Hidalgo died at Sarrià, Barcelona where he went to recuperate from failing health. His remains were brought to Manila, where it now lies entombed in the family mausoleum at the Cementerio del Norte.

"Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo", Wikipedia, (Accessed 5/10/2013)

Biography from Tobin Reese Fine Art:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Nineteenth century Filipino impressionist painter Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo is as prominent and influential a historical figure as he is an artist of the Philippines. Although he did not directly participate in the Philippine Reform Movement, he called certain members of the movement friends, including José Rizal and Mariano Ponce, and left lasting impressions on them through his art. Some historians consider Hidalgo one of the driving forces in using the power of visual art to expose the true identity and intentions of the colonial rulers of the Philippines. He is considered by some Filipinos as a national hero and is a celebrated artist around the world for his historic and aesthetically powerful paintings, many of which demanded attention and won high honors among thousands of entries at prestigious international exhibitions.

Hidalgo created over one thousand works?many large-scale neoclassical canvasses and murals?using oil, watercolor, pastels, and charcoal. He painted landscapes, seascapes, portraits, and historical and mythological scenes.

He was born in 1855 in Binondo, a district of Manila?better known as "Chinatown" today due to the large ethnic Chinese population that resides there, but at the time of Hidalgo's birth the Philippines was part of the Spanish East Indies. Hidalgo's father was a successful lawyer and landowner and his mother, a businesswoman. Details of Hidalgo's early education are limited, however it is speculated that his mother schooled him from home. In 1871 Hidalgo earned a Bachelor of Philosophy from one of the largest Catholic universities in the world, the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. Father Sabater, a teacher at the university, was a mentor to Hidalgo who gave him his first lessons in drawing and encouraged him to focus on his artistic talents. Hidalgo had previously pursued a law degree due to parental pressure, but he was unsuccessful.

His passion for art trumped all other interests and he decided to continue studying art, this time in Europe. From 1879 to 1881 he studied painting on a scholarship funded by the Spanish government at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid and was simultaneously enrolled under Spanish master painter, Don Agustin Saez, at the Escuela de Dibujo y Pintura. The terms of his scholarship required him to execute several life-sized canvases for the Spanish colonial government, some of which were destroyed in World War II. One of young Hidalgo's earliest accomplishments was in 1877, when he placed second in a cover design contest for Flora de Manila ("Plants of the Philippines") ranking only behind his school's director and much more experienced, Saez, who won first place. In 1879 he went to Rome (under scholarship) to paint several portraits, including Senador Romano ("Roman Senator") and Melancholia. Hidalgo camped throughout Spain in 1883 to practice painting landscapes and then moved to Paris in 1884.

He first gained notoriety at the 1884 Madrid Exposition of Fine Arts, alongside Filipino painter Juan Luna. Luna won one of fifteen gold medals for Spoliarium and Hidalgo's Virgenes Cristianas Expuestas al Populacho ("Christian Virgins Exposed to the Populace") received the ninth of forty-five silver medals. Hidalgo's winning piece shows a group of semi-naked female slaves, one with her feet bound and head bowed, taunted by a mob of barbaric Roman males.

The Filipino people rejoiced upon learning of these honors and toasted to what they considered symbolic proof of Filipino equality with the Spaniards. This achievement also prompted Filipinos to be more active participants in European culture. Jose Rizal commented on Hidalgo's silver medal painting and the painter during a banquet in Madrid the same year stating, "?in Hidalgo's work there are revealed feelings of the purest kind; ideal expression of melancholy, beauty and weakness?victims of brute force?in Hidalgo we find all is light, color, harmony, feeling, clearness; like the Philippines on moonlit nights, with her horizons that invite to meditation and suggest infinity."

Hidalgo won other prestigious awards around the world for Oedipus y Antigone (Oedipus and Antigone), El Violinista ("The Violinist"; gold medal), La Barca de Aqueronte ("The Boat of Charon"), Laguna estigia ("The Styx"; gold medal), and others.

La Barca de Aqueronte has a remarkable history as it was shown at the Exposition Universalle in Paris (silver medal), again at the Exposición General de Bellas Artes of Barcelona (gold medal), and at the International Exposition of Fine Arts in Madrid (diploma de honor) during the quadricentennial anniversary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. Ultimately, the Spanish government bought the painting in 1893 and hung it in the Museo-Biblioteca de Ultramar. After the United States annexed the Philippines, it was sent to the Museo Nacional de Pinturas de Madrid. In 1904, Hidalgo took a gold medal for his overall performance in the Universal Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri.

Hidalgo spent more time painting abroad?nearly thirty years in total?than he did living in the Philippines. He enjoyed living the quiet life in Paris, devoting his life to art, and working from his studio, which became a sort-of Filipino artist and revolutionary refuge. Although he struggled financially as an artist in the city, Hidalgo adored Paris and was extremely productive during his time there. To help support his career, Hidalgo even worked as a correspondent for La Independencia, a newspaper published in Manila by a revolutionary general.

One year before his death he traveled to Asia and parts of Eastern Europe. He began this trip with a six-month visit to post-revolutionary Philippines to see his sick mother and other relatives who he had been apart for nearly thirty years. While in Manila he completed several landscapes of his homeland. Hidalgo's mother wanted him to remain with her until her death, but the artist did not want to be away from Paris for long. He left his family and traveled to Japan and took the Trans-Siberian railway back to Europe, however he fell severely ill in Russia and was near death by the time he reached his beloved Paris. He journeyed on to Spain in hopes of recovery, but died at the age of 53 near Barcelona in 1913. Hidalgo was honored by the Philippines that same year with a street named after him in Quiapo, Manila. Hidalgo Street was regarded as the most beautiful street in Manila during the late 19th century. His remains were returned to the Philippines by a friend for final burial at a family mausoleum in Manila.

His work is featured at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila and the Lopez Museum in Pasig City, Philippines. A work by Hidalgo on the art market may approach a selling price near seven figures.

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