Long-missing Goya painting found in Imelda Marcos’ collection

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ImeldaA rare artwork by 19-century Spanish painter Francisco de Goya has been found in the collection of Imelda Marcos, former first lady of the Philippines and wife of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The painting Portrait of the 10th Marquesa De Santa Cruz as the Muse was now rediscovered among property seized from Imelda by the Philippine government in 2014.

The artwork has a turbulent history. Painted in 1805 for a private sponsor, it became war booty for Napoleon in 1814 who took it to France. There it became part of several different private collections and found its way back to Spain where it appeared in the first retrospective exhibition of Goya’s work in the Prado museum in 1928.

In 1940, the painting was chosen by Spanish dictator Franco to be given to Adolf Hitler to be shown in the planned Nazi museum in Linz, Austria. The reason was that the lyre held by the girl on the painting shows a swastika, a symbol associated with Nazism, although Goya placed it as a traditional Celtic symbol. For unclear reasons, the painting was not given to Hitler.

The Marquesa of Santa Cruz as a Muse, Francisco De Goya, 1805
Portrait of the 10th Marquesa De Santa Cruz as the Muse, Francisco De Goya, 1805

It was then bought by English nobleman Lord Wellington and added to his collection. In 1965, it was acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) but in 1977, it disappeared from the inventory list of the museum that only stated the painting has been sold to an “anonymous buyer”, apparently never to be seen again.

It later turned out that the painting was sold to Marlborough Fine Art London – one of the world’s leading contemporary art dealers – from where it seems to have been acquired by Imelda Marcos. However, it was only in the mid-1980s that rumours spread that it had gone to Marcos. It is still not entirely clear why the LACMA actually sold the piece.

Ferdinand Marcos was overthrown in February 1986 and Philippine authorities subsequently took possession of his and his wife’s assets. They found Imelda’s collection of around 3,000 shoes and a number of paintings attributed to Botticelli, Raphael, Michelangelo, Titian, El Greco, Velázquez, Van Gogh, Picasso an others, intended for the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, but most of the artworks ended up in her private residences.

It is unclear where Goya’s painting is kept now after it has been seized by the Philippine government, since it was allegedly purchased with stolen government funds.

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

A rare artwork by 19-century Spanish painter Francisco de Goya has been found in the collection of Imelda Marcos, former first lady of the Philippines and wife of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The painting Portrait of the 10th Marquesa De Santa Cruz as the Muse was now rediscovered among property seized from Imelda by the Philippine government in 2014.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

ImeldaA rare artwork by 19-century Spanish painter Francisco de Goya has been found in the collection of Imelda Marcos, former first lady of the Philippines and wife of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The painting Portrait of the 10th Marquesa De Santa Cruz as the Muse was now rediscovered among property seized from Imelda by the Philippine government in 2014.

The artwork has a turbulent history. Painted in 1805 for a private sponsor, it became war booty for Napoleon in 1814 who took it to France. There it became part of several different private collections and found its way back to Spain where it appeared in the first retrospective exhibition of Goya’s work in the Prado museum in 1928.

In 1940, the painting was chosen by Spanish dictator Franco to be given to Adolf Hitler to be shown in the planned Nazi museum in Linz, Austria. The reason was that the lyre held by the girl on the painting shows a swastika, a symbol associated with Nazism, although Goya placed it as a traditional Celtic symbol. For unclear reasons, the painting was not given to Hitler.

The Marquesa of Santa Cruz as a Muse, Francisco De Goya, 1805
Portrait of the 10th Marquesa De Santa Cruz as the Muse, Francisco De Goya, 1805

It was then bought by English nobleman Lord Wellington and added to his collection. In 1965, it was acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) but in 1977, it disappeared from the inventory list of the museum that only stated the painting has been sold to an “anonymous buyer”, apparently never to be seen again.

It later turned out that the painting was sold to Marlborough Fine Art London – one of the world’s leading contemporary art dealers – from where it seems to have been acquired by Imelda Marcos. However, it was only in the mid-1980s that rumours spread that it had gone to Marcos. It is still not entirely clear why the LACMA actually sold the piece.

Ferdinand Marcos was overthrown in February 1986 and Philippine authorities subsequently took possession of his and his wife’s assets. They found Imelda’s collection of around 3,000 shoes and a number of paintings attributed to Botticelli, Raphael, Michelangelo, Titian, El Greco, Velázquez, Van Gogh, Picasso an others, intended for the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, but most of the artworks ended up in her private residences.

It is unclear where Goya’s painting is kept now after it has been seized by the Philippine government, since it was allegedly purchased with stolen government funds.

 

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