Guy Ullens has filed suit against his son Nicholas Ullens, who is alleged to have murdered his stepmother and Guy’s wife, influential collector Myriam “Mimi” Ullens, late last month. According to Brussels daily De Standard, attorney Nathalie Buisseret filed the civil suit on Guy’s behalf on April 3 in Nivelles, Belgium. Legal proceedings are continuing apace against Nicholas, who is said to have shot his stepmother repeatedly in the head as she left the family home in Ohain, Belgium, with Guy the morning of March 29. Guy sustained a gunshot wound to the leg.
Guy and Myriam Ullens, who wed in 1999, together assembled a collection of roughly two thousand works, many by contemporary Chinese artists. The couple in 2008 launched thUllens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. Now known as the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, the private museum has additional branches, in Beidaihe and Shanghai, and is considered one of China’s top contemporary art institutions. In 2017, the museum was sold to a group of Chinese investors led by private equity group Lunar Capital.
Nicholas’s siblings have announced that they support their brother, telling Belgian news outlet Het Belang van Limburg, “Mimi destroyed our family.” The slaying of Myriam Ullens is reported to have been financially motivated. At the time of the killing, Flemish news site VRT reported that Nicholas and his stempother had been in conflict “for years” over an inheritance matter, with Nicholas accusing Myriam of squandering the Ullenses’s fortune after Guy suffered a stroke. “Mimi plagued the family,” one of Nicholas’s sisters told the press. “She wanted everything for herself. We weren’t even allowed to see Dad anymore,” Nicholas turned himself in to police shortly after the killing. A court on Monday extended his detention by a month.