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There’s nothing quite like the resurfacing of a missing masterwork. And now, some viewers believe that nothing less than a missing Picasso, which could be worth $150 million or more, has turned up in an unlikely place: the home of former First Lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos.
Eagle-eyed viewers spotted what might be “Reclining Woman IV” hanging in Marcos’s living room in recently posted video images, and now authorities are being urged to investigate:
Marcos is the widow of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who allegedly plundered as much as $10 billion during his time in office in the Philippines, between 1965 and 1986. Now, her son Ferdinand Jr. has won a presidential election of his own in the country, and in some publicity photos in her home celebrating the victory the painting can be seen hanging in the living room – that’s assuming it isn’t a replica, that is.
The painting first went missing in 2014, when it and seven other expensive paintings owned by the Marcos family were the target of a seizure by anti-corruption authorities. The one the authorities seized then turned out to be a fake, and opinion is divided on whether the one seen in the photo is a fake as well (according to a Daily Mail report on the painting, some even believe its display in the photograph is an intentional act of “trolling” by the Marcos family).
Ruben Carranza is the former head of one of those anti-corruption organizations, the presidential commission on good government, and he told the Guardian that Marcos has a penchant for phony art:
“Mrs Marcos has had a habit of buying fake paintings, as well as lending fake paintings for display…The fact that she’s now displaying it just shows not just the duplicity of Mrs Marcos – but that she has to display the duplicity and the extravagance that she thinks she’s displaying for Filipinos to see … That says something even worse.
“It shows this really, absolutely uncaring attitude for Filipinos. They’ve not only now been led to believe that [the Marcoses] have gold. Now, they’re leading them to believe, again, that they have so much wealth that they can just display it whenever they please.”
The PCGG has reportedly seized more than $5 billion in assets so far, with another $2.4 billion tied up in the courts.