Picasso rarely stopped creating, leaving thousands of drawings, paintings and sculptures that lure crowds to museums and mansions worldwide. Now, a retired electrician says that 271 of the master’s creations have been sitting for decades in his garage.
Picasso’s heirs are claiming theft, the art world is savouring what appears to be an authentic find, and the workman, who installed burglar alarms for Picasso, is defending what he calls a gift from the most renowned artist of the 20th century.
Picasso’s son and other heirs say they were approached by electrician Pierre Le Guennec in September to authenticate the undocumented art from Picasso’s signature Cubist period.
Instead, they filed a suit for illegal possession of the works — all but alleging theft by a man not known to be among the artist’s friends. Police raided the electrician’s French Riviera home last month, questioned him and his wife and confiscated the disputed artworks.
Le Guennec and his wife say Picasso’s second wife gave them a trunk full of art that they kept virtually untouched until they decided to put their affairs in order for their children. The Picasso estate describes that account as ridiculous.
The pieces, which include lithographs, portraits, a watercolour and sketches, were created between 1900 and 1932, an intensely creative period for Picasso after he moved from Barcelona to Paris.