Santiago Albano Pilar

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To read this article in Filipino, see Santiago Albano Pilar.

Santiago Albano Pilar (15 October 1946 – 12 April 2021) more popularly know as Jak Pilar, was an art historian, curator, author and professor of art history at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts. His writings were focused on 19th and 20th century Philippine art and were published in local and international publications.

Early life and education

Santiago Albano Pilar was born on 15 October 1946 in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte. His parents were Elias Pilar, who was Bacarra's municipal judge from 1955 to 1975, and Jesusa Albano. He received his primary and secondary education from the Vigan Minor Seminary before transferring to the Convento de San Agustin of San Agustin Church. Pilar later obtained a bachelor's degree in art history from the University of the Philippines in 1976.


Pilar joined the faculty of the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts in 1977 and taught in the institution's undergraduate and graduate programs until his retirement in 2011. He taught advanced courses in art history and connoisseurship.

Pilar is the author of the books Juan Luna: the Filipino as Painter, Pamana: The Jorge B. Vargas Art Collection, Domingo Celis: Inspired Calm and Harvest of Saints. He served as associate editor of the CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art. Volume IV. The Visual Arts. He was the 1980 TOYM Awardee for Art History.

He also wrote the section on Philippine painting for the multi-volume Dictionary of Art published by Grove Press, London. For his pioneering research on Philippine colonial art history, he was honored with the TOYM Award in 1980 and won the Araw ng Maynila Award: Tagapag-alaga ng Sining in 1996. While serving as a professor, Pilar worked as an independent consultant of exhibition projects at the Ayala Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Manila and Cultural Center of the Philippines. He was the inaugural recipient of the Purita Kalaw-Ledesma Professorial Chair for Art History and Criticism and was an Ignacio Villamor Professorial Chair for Art.


Pilar died of pneumonia on 12 April 2021 in Manila. He was 74.




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