Aug 2
News
A Portuguese collector’s blue-chip art has been seized to settle $1.1 billion in debts.
The Museu Coleção Berardo in Lisbon. Photo by Metro Centric, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Museu Coleção Berardo in Lisbon. Photo by Metro Centric, via Wikimedia Commons.

The art collection of billionaire José Berardo has been seized by the Portuguese government to help settle his debts of nearly €1 billion ($1.1 billion). Yet the Lisbon museum that showcases work from his collection, Museu Coleção Berardo, will remain open and continue its current programming as planned, according to a report in The Art Newspaper.

Since 2017, three Portuguese banks had been trying to take hold of 75 percent of Berardo’s collection, which had been put up as collateral for his debts. According to reports cited by The Guardian, it’s unclear if the creditors will eventually take possession of parts of the collection, which is currently being held by the state.

Berardo’s collection numbers more than 900 works—including pieces by Francis Bacon, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, and many more—and has been valued at $460 million. In 2006, he struck a deal with the Portuguese government for a long-term loan of the collection to Lisbon’s Centro Cultural de Belém. Berardo was included on ARTnews’s list of the world’s biggest collectors in 2003.