The news that a 71-year-old electrician, Pierre Le Guennec, had come forward with a horde of 271 Picasso works given to him by the master during the last three years of his life as gifts in exchange for work the electrician had done installing alarms in the painter’s homes was hard to believe. But the works themselves have been authenticated, according to AFP:
The haul ranges from notebooks to drawings and completed paintings, including nine cubist works which alone are worth some 40 million euros, according to experts.
Also in the collection was an aquarelle from Picasso’s blue period, portraits of his first wife Olga, as well as a number of gouaches and lithographs, Liberation reported.
Just because they’re real doesn’t mean the owner obtained them legally:
Claude Picasso dismissed Le Guennec’s claim that he could have received the paintings as gifts, telling Liberation that his father would not have given such a quantity of works to anyone.
“That doesn’t stand up,” he insisted. “It was a part of his life.
After Picasso’s heirs filed the complaint in September, officers from the Central Office for the Fight against Traffic in Cultural Goods (OCBC) seized the works from the couple’s home on the Cote d’Azur in southeast France.