The Wall Street Journal has a good report on Brazil’s plans to realize cash from the 95 works of art the US Attorney was able to seize recently in one of the very few international money-laundering cases to involve art works. Convicted Brazilian money-launderer Edemar Cid Ferreira’s Jean-Michel Basquiat painting, Hannibal, was the first work seized and returned to the government of Brazil to help satisfy Ferreira’s obligations. That painting had a rocky auction expierience but the ultimate sale was a healthy $13m. These new works are valued closer to $10m but every bit helps.
The WSJ says that Sotheby’s is in the process of evaluating some of the 95 works for sale:
Major pieces include Henry Moore’s “Woman,” a life-size bronze figure that had been stored in France, as well as Rufino Tamayo’s abstract view of a couple, “Casal de Marcianos 1975 (Two Figures),” which was stored in Florida. There also is a Lucite cube sculpture by Anish Kapoor and works by Brazilian mainstays Adriana Varejão, Vik Muniz and Jac Leirner. Among the older works is an etching by Eugène Delacroix.
The fate of Helen Frankenthaler’s 1965 blue-and-gold abstract, “Sea Strip,” offers a glimpse into the circuitous path of some of the art. Mr. Ferreira paid Christie’s $197,900 for “Sea Strip” in late 2004—a year before his bank failed and a time when authorities said he was starting to ship crates of art to warehouses in Europe for safekeeping. Later, a friend of his wife sold “Sea Strip” to Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art in New York for an undisclosed sum. John Cahill, a lawyer for the gallery, said Mr. Nahem had been told that the painting was from a corporate collection.