Masterpieces belonging to the former first lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos have been seized by government authorities, who claim they belong to the state. A quantity of valuable paintings by Michelangelo, Picasso, Gauguin, and Pissarro were taken away from homes owned by the 85-year-old congresswoman. Mrs Marcos was known for her lavish lifestyle during her husband’s 21-years in power as a world-leader.
Imelda Marcos was a compulsive collector who acquired a vast collection of art and antiques both in the Philippines and New York. Experts from auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s will be consulted The Madonna and Child by Michelangelo had originally been acquired for $3.5 million, according to documents.
Mrs Marcos fled from Manila to the US when her husband, Ferdinand Marcos was overthrown. The US granted her political asylum, although much of her valuable property was seized. The new government has sought for the last 20 years to recover state owned goods, including her famous shoe collection which consisted of thousands of pairs of designer shoes. Last year and aid to Mrs Marcos lost a court battle to keep possession of a Monet water lilly painting thought to belong to the former first lady. It had been offered to a London dealer who informed the authorities. It later sold for $10m.
Despite never going to jail, Mrs Marcos has been charged with a number of state crimes. It is thought that her family amassed more than $10bn (£6.1bn) in property, jewellery, cash and other assets during their time in power. Other works taken from the politician were Joan Miro’s L’Aube, Francisco de Goya’s portrait of the Marquesa de Santa Cruz, Pierre Bonnard’s La Baignade Au Grand Temps, Vase of Red Chrysanthemums by Bernard Buffet, and Camille Pissarro’s Jardin de Kew series. There are thought to be a total of 150 works of art in Mrs Marcos’s possession, which the authorities are now seeking.