Art collection of indebted Portuguese patron seized

Fundação de Arte Moderna e Contemporânea—Colecção Berardo

Joe Berardo, the Portuguese collector, has been ordered to hand over some of his art in lieu of unpaid debts totaling €1bn. The three banks owed the money might never receive the work however, as Barardo's collection has been in the care of the state since 2006. The Fundação de Arte Moderna e Contemporânea—Colecção Berardo was created over a decade ago to show roughly 1,800 works from the stock trader's personal collection, in a deal in which the government housed the art in exchange for the ten-year option to buy 862 paintings and sculptures for €316m, the valuation at the time.

In 2010 the Portuguese magazine Exame estimated Barardo's net worth as €598m, making him one of the richest people in Portugal.

For now the art, which includes work by Jean Miró, Piet Mondrian, Gerhard Richter and Francis Bacon, despite the court ruling, will remain hung in their current home of the Centro Cultural de Belém.

1 August 2019