Modern art collection

PORTUGAL’S LARGEST private contemporary art collection, including work by Picasso and Bacon, is to stay in the country.

The Portuguese Culture Minister has reached an agreement with the collection’s owner, Portuguese tycoon José Barado, that the collection will go on permanent public display in Lisbon.

The agreement, which follows three years of negotiations between Portugal and the Madeira entrepreneur, was signed at the Culture Ministry recently, which stated that the collection was “important and of great international prestige”.

Media tycoon Barado, who made his fortune in South Africa from fruit selling, mining, wine production and hotels, is considered one of Portugal’s richest men. He has a collection of more than 4,000 works of art, including examples by Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Jeff Koons, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Francis Bacon.

Prime Minister José Sócrates was personally involved in reaching the agreement which means the collection will not be sold or loaned to galleries in the US or Italy. The Prime Minister said: “It was always my intention that the collection should stay in Lisbon.”

The competition for the collection has been stiff, with the French Culture Ministry also angling for the priceless works of art.

A site has not yet been agreed to house the collection, which is currently scattered in storage facilities throughout Portugal, although the Cultural Centre at Belém has been mooted as a possibility for a new Lisbon Museum of Modern Art. Parts of the collection have recently been on display at Sintra Museum of Modern Art and the Casa de Serralves in Porto.