December 29, 2010
1 Pablo Picasso
2 Pablo Picasso
3 Pablo Picasso
4 Pablo Picasso
5 Pablo Picasso
6 Pablo Picasso
Pierre Le Guennec
A 71-year-old former electrician and his wife uncovering a trove containing 271 undocumented, never-seen-before works by Pablo Picasso, estimated to be worth at least 60 million euros, is the narrative of a Walt Disney Classic. Although this extraordinary tale is very real.
Pierre Le Guennec, an electrician who once worked for Picasso, showed the cache to Picasso’s son Claude, which includes portraits, sketches, watercolours and lithographs dating back to Picasso’s most creative period from 1900 to 1932. The astonishing chest also included nine of the artist’s Cubist collages, estimated to be worth 40 million euros alone, and a portrait of his first wife, the Russian ballerina Olga Khokhlova.
Naturally French art experts are excited about the discovery and have been pouring over the unexpected treasure since its discovery just a few months ago. But what is most interesting is the extraordinary tale surrounding how the trove was uncovered. For almost 40 years Pierre Le Guennec had kept the treasure hidden in his home on the Cote d’Azur and claims the works were a gift to him from the artist.
On September 9 2010 Le Guennec and his wife travelled from the French Riviera to Paris and casually walked into the offices of the Picasso Administration, which manages the artist’s legacy. On initial inspection, police had suspected the works were forgeries but on closer examination many of the paintings were found to be carrying a numbering system known only to Picasso himself.
Claude Picasso is adamant his father would have not have given such a large amount of his work to his electrician and insists Pierre Le Guennec had stolen the collection. He commented:
“To have given so much….it doesn’t make sense, to be honest. It’s true Pablo Picasso was quite generous, but he always dated, signed and dedicated his gifts, especially as he knew some would sell them to cover their needs.”
Picasso’s former electrician has denied stealing the collection, telling the French newspaper, Liberation:
“What will happen, will happen.”
The saga continues…