Saturday, January 7, 2012

January 10, 1893 - The Trial of Filipino/Creole Painter Juan Luna y Novicio.

Juan Luna was tried before the criminal court for the murder of his wife Maria de la Paz Pardo de Tavera & his mother in law, in Paris, France. On December 8, 1886, Luna married Paz, a sister of his friends Felix & Trinidad Pardo de Tavera. The couple traveled to Europe and settled in Paris in a rented house called Villa Dupont. The mother of Paz, Dona Juana paid half of the rent and household expenses. Living with them was also Juan's younger brother Antonio, who was studying pharmacy. They had one son, whom they named Andres and a daughter nicknamed Bibi who died in infancy & this started the rift between Paz and Luna because he was extremely fond of the baby girl. He believe that Bibi's death was due to Paz's indifference and neglect.

Paz had remarked to her mother that she no longer loved her husband and that she actually hated him. As she was suffering from asthma and was poor in health, Paz left for a month's vacation in the thermal baths of Mont Dore. There she met a Frenchman named Dussag with whom she allegedly began an affair, the liaison continued after her return to Paris. Paz marriage to Juan Luna has become more problematic when Luna in a fit of jealousy or anger would physically harm Paz. Trinidad Hermenegildo, her brother Felix and their mother Dona Juliana combined all their efforts in preserving the marriage, but due to the increased physical abuse suffered by Paz, they decided that divorce was the only choice left. The very jealous Luna frequently accused his wife Paz of having an affair with Monsieur Dussaq.

About a fortnight later Luna followed his wife to a house of assignation at 25 Mont Thabor. He failed to find her there and questioned the porter, who denied that any woman had been in the house. While there Luna met Dussaq, he shook hands with him even if he knew the Frenchman was his wife's lover. He quarreled with his wife often and three days before the tragedy, Luna bought a large-caliber revolver and the same night threatened Paz with death unless she signed a confession of her infidelity. When she refused to acknowledge that she had carnal relations with another man he fired the gun in the air. Tearful Dona Juliana begged her daughter to sign the confession.

Dona Juliana was scared of the brothers Luna and once said "When Juan gets angry, he becomes frenetic and not himself; in other words he becomes a brute!" She noted the temper of the two Lunas "who have the character of madmen" She related that Antonio, for three days after a quarrel with Jose Rizal, wanted to fight the latter and "only God and his friends could appease him for he simply wanted to kill Rizal. They are rancorous and vengeful!"

Because of the two women's complains about Luna's outbursts Trinidad called Filipino barrister Antonio Regidor in London to come to Paris and to find a solution to the matter. He wired his brother Felix vacationing in Berck-sur-mer, to return. Trinidad consulted a lawyer friend, Monsieur Toulouse. At nine o'clock the following morning, Thursday, September 22, 1892, Trinidad and his brother Felix were taking coffee in nearby cafe, when a housemaid came running to them with the news that Luna was threatening to shoot his wife and his mother in law.

Felix arrived at Villa Dupont ahead of Trinidad, refused to embrace his sister "unless she first told him the truth." Trinidad arrived saw Luna was downstairs talking to Antonio Rigedor, who had just got there. After several minutes they left, but until they had advised the two women to lock themselves in the room. The Pardo brothers had barely sat down in the cafe with Rigedor when the housemaid again came running to tell them she heard shouting from the second floor. The two rushed to the house, they saw Dona Juliana at the window screaming for help and upon seeing them shouted, "don't enter my sons he is armed with a revolver!"

Luna appeared at the window of the salon and warned, "I'll kill the first one who enters!" Holding a revolver in the first floor while Paz, their son Andres and Dona Juliana are in a room in the second floor. When Felix started to approach, Luna fired a shot that hit him in the chest. Luna then entered the bedroom, whose door the women forgot to lock. He pointed the gun at the mother's head, she had covered her ears with her hands and Luna pulled the trigger. Paz ran to the window, but Luna caught her and shot her in the head. When Trinidad entered the second floor room, he found his mother and sister shot in the head, his mother dead and his sister barely alive but unconscious. Paz died on October 8 at 6:15 pm without regaining consciousness. Several accounts have related that both Paz and Juliana had been shot through the doorknob as they tried to block Luna’s jabs and kicks. However, the big gaping gunshot wounds in the heads of Paz and Juliana could only have been achieved at point blank range.
Police arrived minutes later and from the window Luna told them, "Come up I won't harm you." The revolver was on top of the table and when the porter picked it up, Luna said, "Careful porter, it is still loaded." On February 7,1893 - Luna was acquitted of charges on the grounds of temporary insanity and since he was born in Asia and a Malay he had a "Juramentado" tendency and could not be held responsible for his violent action. He was ordered to pay the Pardo de Taveras a sum of one thousand six hundred fifty one francs and eighty three cents, in addition to the interest of damages. Five days later, Luna went to Madrid with his brother Antonio Luna and his son, Andres. Luna suffered some depression while in Europe. He went back to the Philippines a broken man in 1896.
Juan & Paz, son Andres Luna was later to win fame in Manila as an architect. Famous buildings on the Escolta, Manila's most elegant thoroughfare after the war, was considered his masterpieces. Parisian Regina Building, Art deco Perez - Samanillo building and the edifice known as Crystal Arcade. Andres also was the designer of the Arlegui House, the residence of former president Corazon Aquino during her term, was married to Grace Mcrae. The couple didn’t have a child.
ka tony
revised the 7th of January, 2012


Mak said...

Hi. Interesado ako sa history ng Luna brothers, especially sa painting ni Juan titled La Bulaquena. I'm actually in an in-depth research about this topic. Perhaps you can help me? Thank!

ka tony said...

Hi Mak, how can I help you and what do you want to know? You have to be specific. Thanks.

Dianne Tupaz said...

Hi. Interesado ako sa history ni Juan Luna. May history ba si Juan Luna sa pagsisigarilyo o gumamit ba sya ng mga droga?

Czarlene Adop said...

I just visited Paris the yesterday....and visited 48 rue pergoles where the villa Dupont was located, unfortunately, my battery ran out of my camera...i saw the small mausoleum in Pere Lachaise cemetery owned by the Pardo de Taveras by chance when i went there to see the tombs of famous people... your article was written as if you got the police record when it happened and so far the most accurate one. I saw his paintings in Rialia Museum in Portugalete, Vizcaya when he went to Spain after this incident, amazing!

Czarlene Adop said...

I used my daughter's account because I have trouble signing with could either reply to the two emails if you need my personal photos about J Luna's paintings and the mausoleum