The container was searched at the MultiRio container terminal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The container was searched at the MultiRio container terminal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

 

The 20 contemporary works, valued at $4.5m, were hidden among the belongings of a 75-year-old Brazilian woman in a shipping container traveling from Florida. Authorities in Rio de Janeiro suspect a company used her move to evade taxes.

Brazil is known for its high import and sales taxes, that can reach up to 60 percent of the value of the goods, levied against goods purchased abroad or brought into the country for sale. Art can however enter the country without being taxed as long as it is declared as luggage. Authorities are investigating whether the smuggling of works are part of a money laundering scheme.

 

Artist Beatriz Milhazes (b. 1960) often works in large scale working juxtaposing western modernist painting with Brazilian imagery and references. Artist Beatriz Milhazes (b. 1960) often works in large scale working juxtaposing western modernist painting with Brazilian imagery and references.

 

Brazilian authorities have yet to release images of the works by contemporary artists such as the Brazilian celebrated painter Beatriz Milhazes, the São Paulo–based street artist-twin-duo known as Os Gêmeos (Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo) and a sculpture by post-war artist Sérgio de Camargo valued at $900,000 were found among the stash, according to the Brazilian federal agency. The Brazilian Ministry of Finance, Guido Mantega, said the art is believed to have been acquired at auctions and from galleries abroad.

 

Influenced by traditional hip hop and Brazilian culture Os Gêmeos ("the twins") (b. 1974) work often features yellow-skinned characters commenting on family, Brazilian politics and folklore. Influenced by traditional hip hop and Brazilian culture Os Gêmeos ("the twins") (b. 1974) work often features yellow-skinned characters commenting on family, Brazilian politics and folklore.

 

The works have been transferred to the National Museum of Fine Arts in Rio de Janeiro where they will remain in storage until the owners come forward and explain how the works were acquired.

If the works are left uncalled for they will become part of the national art collection. I wonder if they will be cataloged as "Anonymous Donation" or "Impounded!"

See more Beatriz Milhazes on Barnebys here.

See more Os Gêmeos on Barnebys here.

See more Sérgio de Camargo on Barnebys here.

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