Missing Van Gogh and Rembrandt works among 150 paintings sought in Philippines

Imelda Marcos and her husband's extensive art collection, including Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Michelangelo disappeared after the regime fell

Rose Troup Buchanan
Monday 27 January 2014 11:56
Imelda Marcos, pictured here back in 2012, was notorious for her shoe collection
Imelda Marcos, pictured here back in 2012, was notorious for her shoe collection

Philippine officials are still attempting to recover over 150 paintings, including works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Michelangelo, embezzled by former dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his notorious wife.

Although better known for her extensive shoe collection, Imelda Marcos was also an art “aficionado”, according Andres Bautista – the man charged with recovering the art work.

Imelda’s former personal secretary Vilma Bautista, 75, (no relation to Mr Bautista) was jailed in New York last week for six years for attempting to sell art belonging to the disgraced former first lady.

But despite this Philippine authorities are still struggling to return the lost paintings, filing a civil case in New York to recover Monet’s “L’Église et la Seine à Vétheuil,” Alfred Sisley’s “Langland Bay” and Albert Marquet’s “Le Cyprès de Djenan Sidi Said”.

Since 1986 an agency has attempted to recover around $10billion worth of goods, acquired by the couple, but the search has slowed because of a lack of funds, officials admitted today.

Among the still missing acquisitions are reportedly works by Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Renoir, Cezanne which, according to Mr Bautista, “could be anywhere.”

In 2009, when the list of missing paintings was first released, Mr Bautista, speaking to the Daily Telegraph, said: “The Marcoses were art aficionados and they spent millions of dollars buying up these paintings.”

It’s believed hundreds of pieces disappeared in 1986 into the houses and collections of the Marcos’ associates and cronies as the dictator’s regime collapsed in a bloodless coup.

After the coup, Ferdinand Marcos fled to the US with his wife, dying in Hawaii in 1989.

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