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COA: Seized art missing, damaged

/ 01:00 AM May 21, 2017

Aside from the 146 paintings reported missing in 2012, the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) has lost nine more artworks while hundreds of others were found to be deteriorating, according to a Commission on Audit (COA) report.

In a summary of its 2016 audit report, the COA said nine paintings under the care of the PCGG are missing from the Metropolitan Museum of Manila and the Malacañang Antique Houses.

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The COA did not specify the provenance of the missing and damaged artworks except to say they were included in a civil suit against the family of former President Ferdinand Marcos.

Three of the missing artworks were described as Russian iconography but the COA summary did not specify the nature of the six other paintings which have been missing since 2012.

Russian paintings

The three Russian paintings were stored at the Metropolitan Museum of Art while the six unspecified paintings were lost from the Malacañang Antique Houses.

Moreover, Metropolitan Museum personnel told state auditors they could not find the missing items because the storage room keeper had already resigned.

The museum also could not present documentation to “determine the person accountable for the proper care and safekeeping” of the missing and damaged artworks.

Deterioration

Aside from the missing paintings, the COA also called out the PCGG for the deterioration of 191 naive art paintings from the former country Yugoslavia, 117 iconographic paintings and 207 lacquerware from Russia and nine mosaics from Italy.

Most of the PCGG artworks in the Metropolitan Museum were found to be deteriorating.

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Of the 191 naive art paintings at the museum, only two were not damaged and most have smudges on the glass, scratches and residue on the frames, dirt on the velvet matting and mold and insect infestation on the backing tape.

Some of the paintings even have dirt and scratches on the surface due to humidity, temperature and exposure, and at least one has cracks on the paint.

Molds, fungi

The 117 Russian iconography are in even worse condition, the COA said, with some so deteriorated that they have become noticeably faded due to the lack of glass casings and frames.

There were even molds and fungi inside the paintings due to moisture, the COA added.

Auditors said the 207 Russian lacquerwares were also deteriorating with humidity causing lids to stick.

The nine mosaics from Italy were also “not in good condition” as most of the frames have scratches and were chipped.

Poor facilities

The COA said the deterioration was mainly due to poor facilities and the lack of expertise to preserve artworks and urged the PCGG to investigate and account for the missing assets.

“Measures to preserve and protect sequestered assets are not in place resulting in missing, faster deterioration and damage of artworks,” read the COA report.

The COA also urged the proper documentation of the seized properties, provision of suitable storage facilities and regular maintenance.

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TAGS: Commission On Audit, Malacañang Antique Houses, Metropolitan Museum of Manila, missing art works, PCGG
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