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LEE AGUINALDO (Filipino, Sept. 5,1933 – January, 2007)


Lee Aguinaldo, considered a pioneer of Philippine modernism, was born in New York City. He came from a prominent family descended from Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy (1869-1964) a military leader and politician who is popularly considered to be the first president of the Philippines. From an early age Lee showed an interest in art, and resisted the expectation that he would eventually take over management of the Aguinaldo family business interests.

After attending a military academy in the United States, he did briefly work for his father’s company. Fascinated by developments in American modern art Lee was influenced by the works of Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Ad Reinhart and later, Robert Rauschenberg. His art developed in an eclectic sequence, defying any linear progression.

In the Philippines, Aguinaldo was friendly with Arturo Luz, Roberto Chabet, Eric Torres, and Fernando Zobel who acted as a mentor. Among his best known series are his “Flick” paintings inspired by the works of Pollock, his pop-influenced Galumph series, and a minimalist, hard-edge series referred to as “Linear.”

Despite personal inconsistencies and growing financial problems, Aguinaldo remained a passionate and dedicated artist into his later years. He is the subject of a recent biography “The Life and Art of Lee Aguinaldo” published by the Vibal Foundation.

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