Wednesday, May 30, 2012


GREEN AND BARE IT. Two small paintings of Victor Cabrera, ca. late 50s to early 1960s, found at a Quezon City junk shop.

In my recent forays to the junk shops of Cubao, I was rewarded with these two small paintings--one, a nude lady by the bank of the stream, and another, a more modest beauty, doing her laundry by the river, a little girl beckoning her, at the opposite pampang (river bank). The themes and even the colors were very vintage 50s. I quickly checked the artworks--and one was actually signed on the lower right hand corner. Since the paintings came together and they were stylistically similar, I concluded that these were painted by the same artist.

At first, I thought the painter was a certain "Fabroja", but a quick reference search yielded the name Victor T. Cabrera (b. 1915/ d. 1975) of Dongan, Paranaque. He was actually a student of Fine Arts at UP, but dropped out because of an early marriage. He eventually went back to painting in his 30s, and caught up with lost time by training with Vicente Manansala (they worked together as illustrators for Photo News in the 30s) and Antonio Dumlao, who enlisted him as one of his studio commercial illustrators.

A well-travelled artist, Victor went to Europe and the America, accepting portrait commissions from passengers while en route to his destination. He always finished the artworks even before reaching the port. His works--landscapes, portraits, historical paintings--were characterized by " a silky, finished quality", evident in these two creations.

He painted more earnestly upon his retirement in 1962--the period where these paintings were most likely completed. He had already scheduled his first one-man show at the Great Wall Gallery in 1975, but he died; his exhibit proceeded anyway. Art runs in Cabrera's family--his son-in-law is the noted cartoonist and illustrator, Ben Alcantara, who created the famous "Gorio and His Jeepney" comic strip fro Manila Times.


  1. Hi..we would to inquire if its possible for us to buy the painting of our grandfather? Thank you

  2. Hi..we would to inquire if its possible for us to buy the painting of our grandfather? Thank you