May 13 (UPI) — A Pablo Picasso painting bought by late Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and his wife Imelda, or a copy of it, has been spotted in her home eight years after it had been selected to be seized by the country’s government.
The surrealist painting Reclining Woman VI, which depicts a nude woman lying on a couch, was seen in footage that aired Tuesday from the local station TV Patrol as Imelda Marcos celebrated her son Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s presidential election win.
The painting, described as “priceless” by The Art Newspaper, is one of more than 200 purchased by the Marcos family with up to $10 billion stolen from the government during the late patriarch’s two decades leading the country.
Marcos Sr. was ousted from power in 1986 and the family lived in exile in Hawaii before later returning to the country.
His son won a landslide presidential election Monday over current vice-president, Leni Robredo, to succeed Rodrigo Duterte after his constitutionally mandated single term.
After the government of Marcos Sr., the country created the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to recover the stolen money and the lavish goods purchased with it, though The New York Times has reported that many of the works are suspected of being fake.
The painting was believed to have been seized in 2014 and placed into the custody of the National Museum, the institution’s director-general Jeremy Barns told the news site Rappler.
However, he admitted that the acknowledgment receipt lists its title as “Picasso Replica Bass Strokes” and not “Pablo Picasso Reclining Women VI.”
Former PCGG chairman Andy Bautista tweeted this week that the Reclining Woman VI had also been seen in a 2019 documentary about the Marcos family titled “The Kingmaker.”
According to The Art Newspaper, the appearance of the painting in the documentary had again prompted officials to look for the painting.
Ruben Carranza, a former commissioner for the PCGG, told The Guardian it was unclear if the Reclining Woman VI seen this week was the real Picasso painting.
But Bautista told Rappler he felt confident the one that the government had seized was a fake.
“Mrs. Marcos has had a habit of buying fake paintings, as well as lending fake paintings for display,” Carranza said.
“The fact that she’s now displaying it just shows not just the duplicity of Mrs. Marcos … it shows this really, absolutely uncaring attitude for Filipinos.”