Over the Thanksgiving holiday in New York, a long-hidden art world secret began to unravel with the indictment of a former Marcos confidant for selling a $32m Monet stolen from a Philippines consulate in the last days of the Marcos regime:
Marcos distributed his priceless collection of at least 300 artworks to cronies when his regime crumbled in 1986 and Andres Bautista, head of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, today revealed how many were missing. He told AFP: “The Marcoses were art aficionados and they spent millions of dollars buying up these paintings.”
The 146 works, by Van Gogh and other masters including Renoir, Rembrandt and Cezanne, “could be anywhere,” he added.
The size of the missing collection came out after Vilma Bautista, a former secretary to Imelda Marcos was accused of having kept several works for decades:
She is alleged to have hidden them for more than two decades before selling the famous Monet work to a London gallery in September 2010. Ms Bautista is alleged to have sold ‘Le Bassin aux Nympheas’, for $32 million. She is also accused of failing to pay tax on the profits she made from the painting. Other missing works she is accused of being in possession of include Monet’s ‘L’Eglise et La Seine a Vetheuil,’ Alfred Sisley’s ‘Langland Bay,’ and Albert Marquet’s ‘Le Cypres de Djenan Sidi Said’.
Van Gogh Among 146 Missing Marcos Paintings (Telegraph)