According to a former official acquainted with the artwork, a lost Pablo Picasso painting was discovered at the residence of the Philippines’ controversial former first lady – as she celebrated her son’s presidential triumph.
In footage shown this week, Imelda Marcos, the widow of late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was seen holding her son, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., with the alleged long-lost masterwork “Reclining Woman VI” hanging on a wall behind them.
The bombshell in the backdrop was carried in a news piece by local channel TV Patrol on Tuesday after Marcos Jr. was elected president by a landslide.
According to a former official with the country’s Presidential Commission on Good Government, a task force formed to recover the former authoritarian family’s ill-gotten wealth, the painting was one of approximately 160 pieces of art allegedly acquired illegally by the Marcos family during their more than 20-year reign.
The abstract artwork, which portrays a lady resting on a couch with her hand on her forehead, appeared in the 2019 documentary “The Kingmaker” about the Marcos family before going missing while the task force searched for it, according to former PCGG Chairman Andy Bautista.
“This artwork was also caught in #TheKingmaker,” tweeted Bautista, who was featured in the film.
The authenticity of the painting — one of eight sought for confiscation by the country’s anti-corruption officials in 2014 — was not immediately established.
However, in the documentary, the former first lady proudly displayed the painting, as well as other rare artifacts and artworks in her collection.
“‘Imelda, I know how to earn money correctly, but you know how to spend money properly because you purchase beauty,” she adds in the documentary, as the camera pans to the Picasso painting.
Bautista then explains in the video that the PCGG had filed a request to confiscate the Picasso artwork and other assets.
During his reign from 1965 to 1986, Marcos Sr. committed atrocities against human rights, including the imprisonment, torture, and execution of his opponent, as well as seizing up to $10 billion in ill-gotten money.
Much of that riches, including millions of dollars in artwork, has yet to be retrieved.