Macario Cruz Vitalis (1898-1990) is a Filipino modernist painter influenced by French postimpressionism. Born in 1898 in the small town of Lapog, Ilocos Sur, he was a teenager when he left the Philippines and moved to the US in 1917, where he attended an art school in San Francisco. He left for France in 1927 where he studied in the Academie de Montmarte and set up his studio in the Paris suburb of Puteaux.
In 1975 he was declared “the only honorary citizen” of Ple’stin-les-Gre’ves in Britanny, where he had originally settled. In 1984 he was honored with the Medal of Excellence from the Institute Academique de Paris.
On the other hand, Jacques Villon (1875-1963) was a French cubist painter and printmaker. Born Emile Mery Frederic Gaston Duchamp in Damville, Eure, Normandy, he came from a prosperous and artistically inclined family. To distinguish himself from his siblings, he adopted his pseudonym as a tribute to the French medieval poet Francois Villon. He lost interest in the pursuit of a legal career, and for 10 years he worked in graphic media, contributing cartoons and illustrations to Parisian newspapers.
Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and France were established on June 26, 1947, with the signing of a Treaty of Friendship in Paris by then-Philippine Vice President Elpidio Quirino and then-French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault. With both countries reeling from wounds of World War II, the Philippines was granted independence by the US on July 4,1947, while the French Republic was restored with the Liberation of Paris on August 25, 1944. Designed by in-house artist Rodine Teodoro, PHLPost has printed 110,000 copies of the P12 and P55 denomination of the said commemorative stamps.