One of a handful of Filipino artists to delve into abstraction in the 1950s, Nena Saguil was the only woman to feature in an unprecedented exhibition of non-objective art organised by the Philippines’ first art critic, Aurelio Alvero, in 1953. She studied at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts, graduating with distinction, and in 1949 received a medal of excellence. Five years later she left the country, having been awarded a number of grants that enabled her to study abstract art at the Ecoles d’Art Américaines de Fontainebleau (1954), the Institute of Spanish Culture in Madrid and the Académie de la Grande Chaumière (1955–1956). She then chose to live and work in Paris, where she spent the next forty years.
In the wake of her first solo exhibition at Galerie Raymond Creuze in Paris in 1957, her paintings were shown in Manilla, The Hague, Munich, Rome, Lausanne, Madrid, London, Stockholm, Istanbul, Nice and beyond. They are part of the collections of the Centre National d’Art Contemporain and the Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques in France, the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Lopez Museum in Manilla, as well as a number of private collections in Europe and Asia.