The Missing Art Movement

If a picture paints a thousand words, what could these paintings say about the corruption during the Marcos regime?

The disposable income of the Marcoses from 1965 to 1984, based on their own income tax declaration was only US$957,487.75 (they did not file any SALN, contrary to law). This did not stop them from purchasing more than $25,000,000 worth of artwork by the world’s masters within this period. As the country reeled from natural and economic disasters, money that rightfully belonged to the Filipino people was being channeled to fund a decade long shopping spree.

The Filipinos were oblivious to this, as the media was controlled, but as the dust of the EDSA Revolution settled, receipts and other documents evidencing these purchases were discovered in Malacanang Palace, together with empty frames hanging on its walls. As the Marcos fled Manila, vans were observed to have hastily left Philippine government properties in United States, including the Olympic Tower apartment in 5th Avenue or in the East 66th street apartment in New York, loaded with numerous crates, never to be seen again. The paintings have disappeared.

The paintings have disappeared.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) is tasked to get them back. One by one, some of these paintings are being recovered. Some were found not too far away, in Metro Manila, some had to be confiscated as far as in Paris, France. Some are under litigation in the Philippines, and New York, while some may have already been purchased by innocent buyers.

Many of the most valuable pieces remain missing. Through documents found in Malacanang Palace, as well as from other sources, the PCGG pieced together a non-exhaustive list of missing artwork. This information is available in this site. The accuracy of this list only becomes stronger through your help. Titles can be wrong, information can be wrong, but together we can make a definitive list of missing art work. (This website lists down only the international art work. The PCGG is compiling a list of local art work.)

Walang Forever they say. The paintings should not be lost forever. So long as they are not recovered and are being enjoyed by those who have no right to it, how can we truly say that we have indeed toppled the Marcos regime? With your mouse and keyboard as your brush let us paint a brighter future for the Philippines. *This is a project of the PCGG on its 30th anniversary #RecoveringIntegrity

Have you seen a missing painting somewhere?

The Portraits of Corruption Gallery shows some of the missing paintings.

Visit the Gallery