Culture minister Pedro Adão e Silva during the launch of the Portugal Contemporary Art Guide app in Lisbon on November 2
Culture minister Pedro Adão e Silva during the launch of the Portugal Contemporary Art Guide app in Lisbon on November 2 Photo: ANTÓNIO PEDRO SANTOS/LUSA

BPP art collection to belong to state

The art collection of the Banco Privado Português (BPP), currently deposited at the Serralves Foundation in Porto, has become the state’s responsibility, culture minister Pedro Adão e Silva told Lusa news agency.

“If the state did not keep this collection, it could be sold. We will sign a deposit protocol to keep it in Serralves. It will not leave Serralves,” said the minister.

He said some of the works from the BPP Collection might be seen in April at an exhibition in Serralves.

Prime Minister António Costa announced on Tuesday that the Ellipse Collection and the BPP Collection would become public domain via an exchange of credits worth €34.86 million, with the liquidation commission of BPP, owned by the late bankrupt banker João Rendeiro.

The two collections are now part of the State Contemporary Art Collection. Initially, the government had only planned to incorporate the Ellipse Collection, but it was decided to extend the operation also to the BPP collection, which is held at the Serralves Foundation in Porto and at the Bank of Portugal.

According to the culture minister, the BPP liquidation commission accepted on Monday the state’s proposal to exchange credits for those two art collections for €34.86 million: €30.1 million for the Ellipse and €4.76 million for the BPP collection.

Pedro Adão e Silva also explained that this operation by the Portuguese state is not formally an acquisition but rather an “assignment of credits”: “These are credits that the state has with BPP. It is an exchange of credits.”

According to Pedro Adão e Silva, the contract for the transfer of ownership has not yet been signed and “is conditioned to the evaluation of the state of conservation, piece by piece,” of the two art collections.

With the incorporation of the Ellipse collection (860 works of art) and the BPP collection (385 works), the State Contemporary Art Collection (CACE) will now have 3,146 works of Portuguese and foreign art from the 20th and 21st centuries.

“It corresponds not only to a significant growth but also to a significant enhancement of the CACE. Because it now has a very important nucleus of Portuguese art, which is the BPP Collection, and a very important nucleus of an international collection”, which is the Ellipse Collection, he said.

The works of the Ellipse Collection are currently stored in a warehouse in Alcabideche (Cascais). They will be transferred to the future contemporary art museum at the Belém Cultural Centre (CCB) in Lisbon, along with the Berardo Collection.

About the Ellipse Collection, Pedro Adão e Silva guaranteed that in 2023 there would be the possibility of the works of art being shown to the public at the CCB.

Last May, the culture minister announced the termination of the protocol between the state and the collector and businessman José Berardo – effective from January 1, 2023 -, the extinction of the Modern Art and Contemporary Art Foundation – Berardo Collection, the intention to acquire the Ellipse Collection and the creation of a museum of contemporary art; all this for the exhibition space of the Belém Cultural Centre.