A missing Pablo Picasso painting was spotted at the home of the Philippines’ controversial former first lady – as she celebrated her son’s presidential victory, according to a former official familiar with the artwork.
Imelda Marcos – the widow of late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos – was filmed hugging her son, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., in footage that aired this week with the apparent long-lost masterpiece “Reclining Woman VI” hanging on a wall behind them .
The bombshell in the background was broadcast in a news segment by the local station TV Patrol Tuesday after Marcos Jr. became the country’s next president in a landslide victory.
A former official for the country’s Presidential Commission on Good Government – a task force created to recover the one-time authoritarian family’s ill-gotten wealth – said the painting was one of roughly 160 pieces of art allegedly acquired illegally by the Marcos family during their more than 20-year reign.
The abstract painting – which depicts a woman lounging on a couch with a hand on her forehead – appeared in a 2019 documentary about the Marcos family, “The Kingmaker,” before it went missing as the task force hunted for it, said former PCGG chairman Andy Bautista.
“This painting was also captured in #TheKingmaker,” Bautista, who appeared in the documentary, tweeted.
It wasn’t immediately confirmed that the painting – one of eight targeted for seizure by the country’s anti-corruption authorities in 2014 – was authentic.
But in the documentary, the former first lady flaunted the painting, along with other rare antiquities and artworks in her collection.
“[My husband] would say, ‘Imelda, I know how to earn money properly, but you know how to spend money properly because you buy beauty,’ ”she says in documentary – as the camera pans to the Picasso piece.
In the film, Bautista then reveals that the PCGG had filed a motion to seize the Picasso painting and other assets.
During his rule from 1965 to 1986, Marcos Sr. made stunning human-rights abuses, including the arrest, torture and killing of his opponent, and using his power to seize as much as $ 10 billion in ill-gotten wealth.
Much of that wealth, including millions of dollars worth of art, has still not been recovered.