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Blog - Grand Auctions

Phillip Witcomb and Roberto Escobar

We have a painting for sale by an artist coming from one of the most extraordinary backgrounds imaginable. Phillip/Roberto was the secret son of Maria Sendosa aged 14 and Pablo Escobar aged 16. Pablo Escobar soon arose in the drug world to become the biggest gangster of the lot taking almost total control of the cocaine drug trade, killing thousands of people and earning himself billions.

Phillip Witcomb, 'Courtyard'

 It was clear that Maria was not able to look after Phillip/Roberto with all the threats of reprisals and her age. Fortunately for Phillip, a debonair Bond like Englishman, Pat Witcomb, rescued Philip and adopted him. Phillip stated “Pat was an MI6 agent on operations in Colombia discovering me during a daring mission to uncover a secret cartel cash hoard.” For the next few years Phillip lived with his adoptive father in his villa in Colombia. He did not fully comprehend all the guards and bullet proof cars. Pat Witcomb obviously needed all the protection around his house.

Pat decided that life was too dangerous for Phillip in Colombia, so he sent him boarding to Lucton school in rural Herefordshire to be as safe as possible. I hope the school authorities knew quite what they had with the new pupil. During his time at Lucton, he developed his love of art. Even so, Colombian dignitaries visited him at his school. At this stage of his life he had no idea of the identity of his father. Considering Escobar in 1989 started killing presidential candidates and began the war against the Dons of Columbia, the threat of vendettas against his family must have been very great indeed. Escobar was finally shot by police in 1993. “I found out about my biological father’s death watching the evening news. My initial reaction was a feeling of huge relief. At first there was fear of reprisals, but gradually things settled and I was able to live a normal life again.”

Phillip could now concentrate on his painting career. “While I was at boarding school I studied the studios of Roy Reynolds, a descendant of Sir Joshua Reynolds. He was also a realist painter. It was Reynolds who taught me the many tricks of painting, which I now use to achieve the translucent effects in my work.” Phillip is known as a super realist painter requiring much skill and patience. He also works with charities in England to help improve the lives of disadvantaged children from drug blighted communities. “I feel a need to atone for the sins of my father to give back to society.”

Phillip lives with his family in a beautiful part of Mallorca. His studio is located in Cala Mondrago, a little paradise on the southeast corner of the island. “I don’t need to invent beauty, I just reflect it.” He is represented by the Daniel Raphael Gallery in London, where his prices are now deservedly fairly hefty, our two oils would be set at £10,000 or more. Phillip is quite a gem in the art world.

The painting illustrated above will be sold at auction at 10am on Monday 17th February 2020. Click here to view the catalogue once it becomes available. 

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