The New York Times reports that the commission searching for Ferdinand Marcos’s hidden wealth has recovered 105 works of art that were sold for $17m. The story really doesn’t amount to much more than saying the commission has created a website looking for the remaining lost pictures.
It also points out that 18 works have been located but are still subject to litigation. Curiously, there’s no mention of the Monet Alan Howard bought from Imelda Marcos’s maid. Howard eventually paid an additional $10m to the government of the Philippines to quiet any claims on the work.
Using this strategy, the Philippine government achieved some early successes. In 1987 a collection of old masters, including works by Raphael, Titian and El Greco, was seized in France from Adnan M. Khashoggi, a wealthy Saudi arms dealer and Marcos associate. The paintings were then sold at a Christie’s auction in New York for $15.4 million, with part of the proceeds going to the commission.
According to officials, those funds and others recovered by the commission have been spent on programs to help farmers and on reparations for victims of human rights abuses during Mr. Marcos’s rule.
Then in 1998, with the help of the Art Loss Register, a private company based in London that tracks down looted art, the commission recovered a 1954 Picasso painting, “Head of a Woman,” after a California lawyer brought it to Christie’s on behalf of an anonymous client. The painting, which sold for $992,500 at a Christie’s auction in 1999, is thought to have been one of the works that disappeared from the East 66th Street townhouse.
Hunt for Missing Marcos Art Seeks to Regain Momentum (The New York Times)