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Posted by portugalpress on August 07, 2018

For reasons only bankers could fathom, around €5.3 million-worth of 20th century works of art are stuck in a government vault, classified as ‘toxic assets’.

The 192 paintings and sculptures are part of the ‘fallout’ from the collapse of BPN bank a decade ago.

They are ostensibly guarded night and day. But what is their purpose?

Fernando Nogueira Leite, president of Parvalorem - the State company ‘managing BPN’s toxic assets’ - has decided it’s time to work this out.

The works are, many of them, extraordinary - created by ‘national giants’ in the field like Paula Rego, Amadeo de Souza-Cardozo and Maria Helena Vieira da Silva.

Numerous ‘investors, collectors and entities’ have shown themselves interested in making some kind of deal, but up to now the government “has failed to make any kind of decision”.

Three of the paintings have been “deposited” with the Arpád Szenes-Vieira da Silva Foundation in Lisbon, but the rest are just sitting with their faces ‘turned to the wall’.

Público has highlighted the situation, explaining that 88 of the works are by Portuguese artists, and the rest by various foreign names.

The location of the vault, however, is being kept under wraps (for obvious reasons).

Nogueira Leite has simply said it is “in an entity specialised in the storage and transport of works of art with all the conditions of 24-hour safety, and requisite insurances”.

The last government under prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho set out to sell the works, along with those of Joan Miró which have since been saved for the nation (click here).

The inference of stories coming out now is that it is time to save these ‘lost works’ for the nation as well and allow the people (who paid so heavily for BPN’s collapse) to enjoy them.