Lisbon Art Galore | Edward Goldman

August 19, 2014 11:07 PM

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Lisbon Art Galore | Edward Goldman

One of the few things I knew about Lisbon's cultural scene --years before my inaugural trip there last month --was the name of Calouste Gulbenkian (1869 - 1955), a private collector of Armenian descent, who amassed a huge fortune through early investment in Iranian oil. So, at the beginning of the Great Depression (1929 - 1939), Mr. Gulbenkian had more money than God himself; as a result, he was able to indulge himself in collecting great works of art from all ages.

In one of their most reprehensible cultural follies, Soviet authorities decided to sell a number of priceless masterpieces from the Hermitage Museum --and chose to do it at the worst possible time, right at the onset of the market crash. Mr. Gulbenkian took advantage of the situation and acquired va...

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