PORTRAITIST TO ROYALTY AND MORE.
Incredibly inspirational and admirable is iconic artist Betsy Westendorp. She emanates beauty, intelligence, refinement, and creativity which feed her soul. Recognized as one of the most illustrious artists of the century, her book entitled “Betsy Westendorp” Volume 1 & 2 was recently launched at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila. On hand to welcome the guests were book editor Rita Ledesma and executive publisher David Bayot of the De La Salle University Publishing House. Bro. Raymundo Suplido gave the opening remarks to a crowd that was comprised of no less than the crème de la crème of Philippine society. A monumental Westendorp painting served as backdrop to the proceedings.
My husband Rupert and I are thrilled with Betsy’s two volume book. It is a dream come true for the celebrated artist. She has marked a significant meaning in our lives, particularly in Rupert’s art and photography world, as she pulled together some of the most distinguished ladies of Spain for a photo sitting with Rupert; among them. H.R.H. Princess Anne, The Duchess of Calabria; the Marquesa de Valdeolmos, Dona Esperanza Stilianopoulos, the Marquesa de Campo Real, the Marquesa de Tamarit and others. The portraits appeared in Rupert’s Faaabvlous II coffee table book.
Prominent artist and editor Cid Reyes wrote the English version of Betsy’s volume 2, whereas the Spanish text was done by Elena Florez. The cover of volume 1 is based on a self-portrait by Betsy in 2012, and the pages are filled with her captivating portraits worldwide. Betsy came to prominence when she was commissioned to do the portraits of Spanish nobility, among them: His Majesty Felipe VI of Spain, as a toddler. Known in Spain as “Pintores de Principes” are portraits of His Royal Highness Prince Juan Carlo de Borbon and Princess Sofia, their children, “Infantes de Espana”: Infanta Dona Elena, Infanta Dona Cristina, and Infante Don Felipe, the present King Philip of Spain. Some of her most celebrated works gravitate towards high society and her oeuvres are of elegant matrons and powerful businessmen. All her portraits display elegance, of how beautiful the way her subjects live, and how inspiring they are for others. On the other hand, her landscapes reflect her emotional and sensory experience.
The cover for the second volume as well as the slip case is based on the orchid painting presently at the Nene Quimson collection, which is predominantly that of a rich tropical paradise. This volume contains paintings from the Malacanang Palace collection; as well as flowers, atmosferografias/clouds, barong-barongs and sea life. Betsy’s gently feathered brush strokes are evident in her depiction of flowers and her flower compositions reflect her attention to details of our natural world. The books offer an intimate insight into Westendorp’s remarkable world engaged with art as her ultimate way of expressing herself. Most cherished and enduring throughout Betsy’s years in Manila, is her wonderful spirit and obsession with art, technology and design. Highly commendable that at her age, her sense of integrity and work ethic to this day makes her a productive member of society as well as one of the unstoppable figures throughout the art world. Completing the book team are Inigo Cerdan, book designer and Benjie Toda, photographer.