Baroness Myriam Ullens Belgian baroness shot dead by stepson Nicolas Ullens following allegations of squandered billions in long running feud.
A Belgian baroness and preeminent art collector was shot dead, allegedly by her stepson outside her home in the south of Brussels, Wednesday morning.
Baroness Myriam Ullens, 70, was with her husband, Baron Guy Ullens, 88, when she was killed in the village of Ohain, allegedly by Nicolas Ullens, 57, her stepson.
Baron Ullens, the assailant’s father reportedly survived the shooting.
The woman was shot four times in the head, while the suspect’s father was shot once in the leg.
An hour after the shooting, Nicholas Ullens presented himself to La Mazarine local police at 11am.
Allegations of squandering his billionaire father’s money
The pair were in their car outside their home around 10am when Nicolas fired on his stepmother, who died at the scene, according to La Libre.
According to reports, the baroness and her stepson had been in long-running disputes over issues of inheritance, and he accused her of ‘squandering’ his billionaire father’s money.
The baron and baroness – who opened the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing – married in 1999, and have been influential art collectors ever since.
They began their career by collecting classical Chinese art scroll paintings, before switching their attention to contemporary art according to ArtNet News.
The couple opened the Ullens center in 2007 – considered at the time to be the first contemporary art museum in China.
In 2004, baroness Ullens, who went by Mimi and was a cancer survivor, founded the Mimi Foundation to create centers within hospitals to provide physical and mental therapy for patients undergoing cancer treatment.
In 2013 she co-organised an exhibition and benefit auction during Frieze Week in London to support the Mimi Foundation.
What does one do with billions of dollars?
‘If many of the artists in this project are Chinese that is because of our long and close relationship with them. This is just the tip of our iceberg—that we are continuing to follow and collect intensively with the new generation,’ the baroness told Ocula at the time.
‘A collection is like a living breathing body. It evolves in an organic manner.’
News of Mimi’s death sent a shockwave across the art world.
‘The vision and passion of Myriam Ullens—her love for art, belief in cultural exchange, and commitment to helping others—are at the core of UCCA’s history and values,’ said Philip Tinari, UCCA’s director, in a statement shared on social media. ‘We are shocked and saddened by her death, and will remember her strength, style, creativity, and generosity as we carry forward the work of the institution that she and Guy so generously founded and nurtured through its first decade.’
The baroness Ullens was born in Colgone, Germany, in 1952. Along with being an avid art collector and cultural connoisseur, Mimi was an active philanthropist who initiated an education program and school in Nepal.
Myriam was also actively involved in luxury brand Maison Ullens, which she founded in 2011. The family is of Belgian nobility; Guy Ullens is a philanthropist as well as a financial services company executive who has been collecting art since the 1960s.
Nicolas Ullens, a former Belgian state security officer, is one of the baron’s four children with his first wife, Micheline Franckx.