Online exhibits are not new, especially with today’s so-called “new normal”—a term that is quickly losing its flair because of how often it has been thrown around by the media. Since the start of community quarantines the world over, art has been finding a way to enrich the lives of people stuck in their homes, reeling from cabin fever, and dealing with, perhaps, their own crises of existence. 

Thus, art has always presented itself as a refuge, in trying times most especially, but even during ordinary epochs. Art is and will always be a refuge for the weary and the lost, for the dreamers and the believers.


We continue with our “Art as Refuge” series, and this time we feature another online auction courtesy of Leon Gallery. 


‘Leon Exchange Online Auction, Edition XV’

On May 30 and 31, Leon Gallery, through its Leonexchange platform, will host the 15th edition of its online auction. Dubbed as the “Leon Exchange Online Auction, Edition XV,” it will feature art pieces and antiques that interested collectors can view and bid for online. 

Among the objects in this online auction, those that are worth noting are the furniture pieces from Ah Tay. Little is known about this mysterious master who has fascinated antiquarians, social historians, and antique hobbyists alike, save for the possibility that his old workshop might have been found in Binondo, Manila. There, Ah Tay churned out masterful works from 1860 to 1920, and his name—although much about him has been lost in the currents of time and history—continues to be considered as one of the finest ebanistas or cabinet-makers in the country. Eduardo Ah Tay, son of the elder Ah Tay, tried to continue his father’s legacy during the American colonial period but he was not so successful.


Apart from their rarity, what makes Ah Tay furniture pieces interesting is their impeccable craftsmanship and meticulous design, which elevated them into status symbols for the rich, powerful, and popular during his time. The Ah Tay aparador included in “Edition XV” is one such piece. It features a seamless Chinese-style joinery that match its faultless proportions and its extremely fine yet palpable details, boasting an early art nouveau style.

Also included in the auction are other antique furniture pieces, including one from Danish master Hans J. Wegner and a couple of works from French designer Philip Starck.



Then there are the art pieces, which include works by National Artists BenCab and Jose Joya, contemporary art sensation Jigger Cruz, minimalist Augusto Albor, sculptor Nemesio Miranda, and Betsy Westendorp.

You can view the pieces at Those who are interested can register as a buyer through the website, and participate in the online auction on May 30 and 31, which starts at 11 a.m. | | (028) 856 2781

Source: Manila Bulletin (