Arturo Rogerio Luz (born 1926) was a Philippine painter and sculptor. His paintings are marked by meticulous simplicity and restraint, with subdued colors and understated form. Luz himself described them as "semirepresentational, semiabstract."
Arturo Luz was born on Nov. 20, 1926, in Manila, Republic of the Phillipines. He studied painting at the School of Fine Arts at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, the Art School of the Brooklyn Museum in New York, and the Académie Grade Chaumière in Paris; he received a diploma from the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland in 1994. He married artist Tessie Ojeda Luz.
While still in college Luz began exhibiting his works and won his first prize in the annual art competition of the Art Association of the Philippines. Other outstanding awards included the first prize at the First International Art Salon in Saigon, Vietnam, in 1962; an award from the California Art Association; and the Republic Cultural Heritage Award for painting of the Philippine Republic in 1966. He was chosen the "Outstanding Young Man in Art" by the Manila Times in 1955.
Luz's works have been exhibited in all major art centers of the world. His design "Harana" (Serenade) was engraved in Steuben glass and displayed as one of two Philippine representatives in the much-heralded exhibit "Asian Artists in Crystal" in 1955. He also represented the Philippines in an exhibition entitled "Arte de America y Espana," organized in Madrid and exhibited in the major cities of Europe.
Some of Luz's better-known paintings are Street Musicians, Venezia, City, and Cyclists No. 2. A book of his drawings, with an introduction by Emmanuel Torres, was published in 1956.
Luz was much admired by his fellow painters, one of whom, Fernando Zobel de Ayala, called him "a painter's painter" and noted that, when a Luz painting was offered for sale, which was seldom because of the painstaking nature of the artist's work, the buyer was often another painter. "Where other painters shout at the top of their voices," Zobel wrote, "Luz speaks in a whisper and, insidiously, gets a great deal more said."
From Painting to Sculpture
Luz began working with sculpture rather late. Like his painting, it is characterized by simplicity of line and geometry of form. Although Figura II stands 6 feet high, most of Luz's sculptural pieces are relatively small. He worked in Philippine hardwoods, marble, and metal and exhibited his sculptures chiefly in Manila. His work has been described as sparse and spatial.
Luz was a founding director of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, and served in that position from 1976 to 1986. He owned the Luz Gallery in Makati, Philippines. His work, which includes paintings, sculpture, graphics and photographs, is in private and institutional collections.
In 1995, his work was on exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum. At that time, Filipino art critic Rod Paras-Perz said, "The Luz retrospective is still one of the most significant and major shows ever attempted on a contemporary artist."
Information on Luz is sparse, but there is some biographical material in The Two Thousand Men of Achievement (1970). A useful background study is W. S. Smith, Art in the Philippines (Manila, 1958).
Yotoko, Marla, "Letter from Manila: Arturo Luz Retrospective at Manila Metropolitan," Filipino Reporter, May 4, 1995.