Iñigo Zobel shelled out a cool P44 million in a bidding to own a painting of his uncle that he cherished as a teen.
The chairman of Top Frontier Investment Holdings shocked the crowd of art spectators at the León Gallery when he personally showed up last Saturday, September 10, to bid for one specific painting on the block.
He was dead set on getting “Siga-Siga,” a painting of his uncle Fernando Zobel. Iñigo explained that the piece hung on the wall of his childhood bedroom until it became a casualty of his parents’ separation.
Bilyonaryo.com‘s Ces Orena Drilon described “Siga-Siga” as a piece focused on a cocky cigarette vendor, a rumored metaphor of the harsh realities of mid-century Philippines.
Iñigo Zobel strutted into the auction room 10 lots before his desired piece was put on offer, ushered by an array of guards and back up security detail.
The bidding started at P10 million and quickly climbed to P32 million until rivals gave way to the bilyonaryo, who settled at P44 million with buyer’s premium. An art collector told Bilyonaryo he expected bids to hit beyond P50 million, but rumor has it that other aspirants gave way when they heard they were going up against Iñigo.
He left the auction soon after, mission accomplished.
“I have searched 20-25 years for that painting. My mother gave it to me when my parents were still together,” he said in an interview. Apparently, the painting was sold along with the family’s Forbes Park home when Enrique Zobel (or EZ) separated with his wife. Iñigo was unable to keep the painting for himself as he was away at boarding school.
From P30,000, the painting has definitely appreciated through the years — all the more because Iñigo cherished it so.