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Tycoon's modern art collection to stay in Portugal

Written by: Staff

LISBON, Apr 1 (Reuters) Portugal's biggest collection of modern art will go on public display in Lisbon, the government said after reaching an agreement with its owner, one of the country's wealthiest men.

The agreement that will keep the more than 4,000 works owned by tycoon Joe Berardo - including pieces by Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Jeff Koons, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Francis Bacon - in Portugal will be signed on Monday, a spokeswoman for the Culture Ministry yesterday said.

''This is quite important. We are talking about a collection of great international prestige,'' she said.

It was not immediately clear where the collection would be housed. Part of it now is on display at the Belem Cultural Centre in the capital's suburbs.

The accord follows years of talks between Berardo and Portugal over housing his collection, now scattered across various sites in Portugal. Some of it is in storage.

News reports have said he had also been contacted by officials in Italy and Miami offering display sites.

Socialist Prime Minister Jose Socrates was involved in the final accord, Berardo told private TSF radio.

''My intention always was to stay here in Lisbon,'' he said.

Berardo started out selling fruit in South Africa, made a fortune in mining and now has stakes in manufacturing, vineyards, hotels and a major Portuguese media group.


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