The Art of Julius T. Limpe


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profileJulius Teh Limpe was born in San Nicolas, Binondo, the Chinatown district of Old Manila, on February 1, 1927.

At the young age of six, he already loved drawing. He reminisced, “I would just pick up objects in my mind and pieces in my textbooks to draw with pencil and crayons on paper. Art was my first hobby. I would draw posters for our school. When I studied in Indiana, I also enrolled in four of five art subjects. Art became my minor.”

Limpe was the only business student who would cross over to the art department of Indiana University in the US. He graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Business Management and minored in Fine Arts.

Even though art was his greatest passion, he was proficient in many fields of endeavor. Creative and inventive, he was a man of art, music, business, and science; he was a modern Renaissance man.

He composed and wrote lyrics to his songs, and possessed an amazing talent for playing instruments by ear even without the benefit of lessons such as the piano and harmonica. He performed at a professional pianist’s level without having any sheet music to follow.

An inventor, he created and owned Philippine and international patents such as the New Process of Accelerating the Ageing of Alcoholic Beverages. Perhaps his unfulfilled dream of becoming a research doctor was the source of his great interest in scientific and medicinal developments.

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 “For me, my art is my alter ego.”

Julius Limpe painted a wide range of subjects; he never liked to limit himself. His favourite subjects were the Madonna and Child, landscapes and waterscapes, flora and fauna, and the female nude– but his favorite subject was fish. This love of fish began when he was very young. He bred fishes as a hobby and was happy to just, in his own words, “sit around the aquarium watching the little fishes go by.”

With adept swirling strokes and generous use of vibrant colors, he brought vitality and life to his fish, making it appear as if they are happily caught up in a graceful aquatic dance. His fish was imbued with character, emotion, and cognizance, leaping from the canvas with grace and strength.

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His powerful and confident brushstrokes complemented his energetic, unrestrained execution of bold ideas. His color preferences were fearless, dynamic combinations of vibrant hues, with “every color bringing out the next color.” Limpe navigated the canvas on impulse and followed no definite rules or formula in painting. When asked to label his style, he would respond, “One can call me a modernistic expressionist.” Labels aside, Limpe’s artistic style is unique and individualistic, as was the man himself.

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Even as an octogenarian with physical limitations such as macular degeneration, muscular tremor in his hands, and asthma triggered by a respiratory allergy to oil paint and chalk pastel– which, in turn, limited his latter works to acrylic, hard and oil pastel, colored pencils and watercolor– his art still reflected his great imagination and energy. A non-conformist and out-of-the-box thinker, Limpe remained astute, active, and creative to his last days.

Exhibit Catalog

 

Event Photos
Sponsored by the Philippine Consulate General New York
Exhibit curated by Manuel D. Baldemor
May 3 – 13 , 2016
Opening Cocktail 6:30pm May 3, 2016
Philippine Center New York