The news that broke earlier of a horde of Picasso work owned by a septuagenarian electrician and stored in boxes for 4o years has surprised and mystified the world. Too much attention has been lavished upon the supposed value of the works. But several news reports now give us a better sense of the story.
The Telegraph explains that the works were authenticated based upon their range of styles and the lack of source material from which they might have been faked. Oh, and there’s also an interesting little detail:
Art experts swiftly concluded that not even the greatest counterfeiter could have copied such a wealth of different styles, and there was no way they could have faked the classification numbers on some of them.
The New York Times reveals a little more about Picasso’s character:
“We’ve never seen anything like this with regard to Picasso,” Mr. Neuer said in a telephone interview. “It’s completely stupefying.” […] Picasso was known as an inveterate collector of the artifacts and detritus of day-to-day life, and held particularly tightly to his artworks; his heirs say they doubt he could ever bear to part with such a sizable collection.
“He kept everything: letters, Métro tickets, tickets for the theater or bullfights,” Mr. Ruiz-Picasso told Libération. He said many of the 271 pieces were undated.
Reuters has Claude Picasso explaining the importance of those missing dates:
“I felt a great surprise, naturally, lots of emotion at the discovery of pieces with which we were not familiar. But also a deep disturbance,” he told French daily Liberation. “Many of these pieces were not dated, which means they never should have left the studio.”
Trove of Picassos Surfaces, and So Do Questions (New York Times)
271 Picasso paintings discovered in Paris (Telegraph)