The decision comes after an agreement between the auction house, the National Museum, and the owners of the bust.
This morning, Sept. 15, Salcedo Auctions’ chief specialist Richie Lerma held a press conference disclosing the withdrawal of Mariano Benlliure’s bust of Juan Luna from tomorrow’s “The Well-Appointed Life.”
The decision was made after the National Museum of the Philippines sent a letter dated September 8 to Salcedo Auctions, requesting to put the sale of the bust on hold. The museum stated that the bust may have been one of the artifacts that were lost during the destruction of Manila in World War II.
Yesterday, the museum, Salcedo Auctions, and the owners of the bust (MIB Capital Corporation) convened to determine the next course of action, given the National Museum’s request and the investigation of the possible provenance of the bust.
The auction house shared that no claims of ownership by the National Museum or other private or public institutions have been made since the bust’s acquisition by the owners, despite the piece’s previous cover feature on Chronicle Magazine in 1967 and its appearance at the Filipinas Heritage Library catalog. Given these, the owners decided to put the bust up for auction.
According to Lerma, in a gesture of goodwill and the mission to preserve and protect the nation’s cultural heritage, all parties agreed to withhold the sale and engage in further discussions on the origins of the bust.