Moved To Tears

by jun asuncion

My cousin Sonny Rayos has just done  a magnificent job by taking photos of our great ancestor  Justiniano Asuncion’s Watercolor Paintings at the New York Public Libraray. He said he was moved almost to tears to hold and see for the first time these known works of Justiniano. It also deeply moved me that at the other side of the globe, I  have this cousin who is also actively searching for the roots and sharing his findings.

I highly appreciate Sonny’s efforts for he makes it possible for all other  Asuncions to view these works without going to New York. I was very excited that I immediately worked on the photos for publication. Sonny was allowed by the NYPL to take photos of Justiniano’s original watercolor paintings.

Sonny’s great great grandfather was Leoncio Asuncion, Justiniano’s brother. Here is Sonny’s photo holding an original painting by the master. Below is his e-mail to me this morning:

To all:

I was in New York City during the first week of August and rather than go to the Guggenheim, MoMA or Met museums, I decided to check out the NYPL’s (Schwarzman Building on 42th St. in midtown Manhattan) Justiniano Asuncion watercolor collections. These watercolor painting were digitalized several years ago. Y’all are probably familiar with these collection by doing an internet search on: “NYPL Justiniano Asuncion.” To see the paintings (which, at the time. I didn’t even know that I could view them), I was shuffled from the main lobby librarian, to Room 300, to Room 308, then had to apply for a NYC libary card, and then back to Rm 300 which is actually a secure room – you have to be buzzed in. FYI – the librarians were very excited when I told them that these were my ancestors paintings.

So finally here I am looking at my great, great, great uncle Justiano’s watercolor paintings. I was moved, almost to tears – to finally hold in my hand the paintings of Justiniano – looking and perusing each and every one closely (thank goodness, I even brought with me a magnifying glass!) I cannot help but think, every art critic is right: Justiniano Asuncion is THE MASTER!

Sonny Rayos


4 thoughts on “Moved To Tears

  1. jun,
    we are thankfull for sonny rayos visit to NYPL, truly a Great Master,it is painted at that time i think as souvenir of the native costumes..i hope we could find painting work done by Don Antonio…thank you Sonny.

    • Hi pinsan Maning!

      Yes, we are all very much thankful to cousin Sonny Rayos for this. I know that many relatives- and students of arts- are now also happy to read this post and to know that some of the master painter’s works can be found at NYPL. I would go there myself someday to view the originals, perhaps with Sonny as my tourist guide!

      Sonny looks great in this photo and you can really feel how proud he is in this moment and he looks a bit similar to my uncle Agosto Asuncion (my father’s brother), the commander of the Lapuz guerilla faction in Bicol during the Japanese occupation. His e-mail attests to his genuine passion and appreciation for our master painter Justiniano.

      Again, big thanks to Sonny. I really hope this work that we are doing shall inspire other relatives to move, and perhaps be moved to tears also.

      Keep in touch Maning and extend my best regards to Christopher. I’m still working on the material sent to me by architect Ding Asuncion of Makati and shall soon share it to you all.

      jun asuncion

  2. Tito Jun and Tito Maning, Justiniano was to me the greatest master artist among the filipino painters of yesteryears up to the present. Nobody can surpass his talent,not even those filipino contemporary artists whose works are being auctioned off abroad.

  3. Dear Jun:

    This is Tonyboy. Please visit our LGU facebook:

    Thanks po, and have a good day.

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