Nestor Leynes

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Nestor Garcia Leynes (born 26 Feb 1922) first worked in a sign shop and did oil portraits. He was an illustrator and cover artist for seven years for the Ramon Roces Publications where Vicente Manansala also worked. He gradually changed his attitude and opened his eyes to modernism from the only style that he recognized from his teacher, Fernando Amorsolo. As a painter, he first experimented on various styles such as abstraction, expressionism, and cubism. Through the warm reception to the painting entitled Bigas (Rice), he realized that he finally discovered his personal style.

His Balara Hills won an honorable mention in the painting contest of the Art Association of the Philippines in 1951.


Early life and education

Leynes was born on 26 February 1922 in Sta. Cruz, Manila. His father, Dr. Ricardo Leynes, was a medical doctor and his mother, Enriqueta Garcia, was a registered nurse. He has four brothers- an accountant, a doctor, an engineer and a sister, a printing technician.

Although his parents appreciated the arts and filled their house with paintings of Fabian de la Rosa, he was discouraged to enter the field of art. Nestor, however, pursued his ambition and took art lessons in grade school and high school. He spent his free time copying drawings from magazines.

Leynes pursued a degree at the University of the Philippines School of Fine Arts. He was taught and inspired by his professors, among them, Fernando Amorsolo, Ireneo Miranda, Macario Peralta, Toribio Herrera, Pablo Amorsolo and Vicente Alvarez Dizon.

However, his studies were interrupted as Japan invaded the country. Leynes recalled that he was on the graduating class before the World War II broke out. He worked as one of the carvers in a small bakya factory that his family owned. Two days after the Pearl Harbor was bombed, Leynes married Amalia Alcantara, his childhood sweetheart and neighbor.


Leynes did portraits of American GI's for five pesos. He set up his “shop” at the entrance of a drugstore on Rizal Avenue.

When the war ended and the schools were opened again, Leynes did not go back to school as he had to earn a living to support his family. He worked for the Ramon Roces Publications and did illustrations for magazines like Liwayway. He was also offered to work as a staff artist of advertising agencies like the Philippine Advertising Counsel and worked on the San Miguel, Magnolia and Coca-cola accounts. He also worked as art director, head of the art department and EVP for art department at the J. Romero and Associates Advertising Agency.

In 1980, at the age of fifty-eight, Leynes retired from the advertising field and painted full-time. He admitted that he had regrets as he cannot paint monumental pieces because of physical incapacity.

Leynes' style of painting include Magic Realism, Hyper Realism, Super Realism and Macrovision. Everyday scenes are expressed and painted in a detailed manner. His paintings are usually images of a woman sifting bigas, a kalabaw with its wares, a tindera of Filipino fruits, harvest scenes and sandok at palayok. He also paints the image of Christ every Good Friday and his favorite one is the image of the mother and child.

Selected works

  • Sacred Heart (1940)
  • Peasant Funeral (1948)
  • Old Balara (1950)
  • Bigas (1977)
  • Pandanggo sa Ilaw (1966)
  • Paligo sa Batya (1968)
  • Carousel (1960)
  • Boo Gene (1976)
  • Sinelas (1974)
  • Mais (1978)
  • Caravan (1980)
  • Dalampasigan (1986)
  • Gintong Butil (1995)

Some Awards

  • from the Shell National Students Art Competition:
    • second place, on-the-spot painting, Chinese Garden in 1967
    • first place for Twice Born
    • certificate of merit for Pathways to Ajanta and Fort Santiago
    • second place for 4 Squares to 2 Circles




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