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Picasso Again - But Now Theft?

Wednesday 18th February 2015

Picasso and his works seem to be all over the art world news, lately. Marina Picasso, the late artist's granddaughter, made waves several weeks ago when she announced that she plans to sell off portions of her collection of works by the famous Cubist master, bypassing the auction world and selling them privately. A Picasso piece was also stolen from the Miami Beach version of the Art Basel art fair around the new year, although that small theft pales in comparison to the one that has been alleged now.

The case in question involves a handyman who worked on the Picasso estates in the 1970s, who is alleged to have stolen a huge number of works worth an estimated £50 million on the auction block. The handyman, Pierre Le Guennec, claims that the pieces were given to him by Picasso's second wife in 1970, with the nothing more than the words, "Here, it's for you. Take it home." The Picasso estate, and his surviving son Claude, contend that this is completely ridiculous given the value of the pieces in question. Claude Picasso told the French newspaper Liberation, "That doesn't stand up. These works were part of his life."

The pieces in question amount to some 180 lithographs, collages and paintings, as well as 91 drawings all by Pablo Picasso. They have remained virtually untouched, sitting in the handyman's garage since the day he brought them home.

Originally, there were no formal charges laid against Le Guennec, while an investigation began to determine how he came to be in possession of them. After eight months of searching, formal charges were finally laid by the police. The pieces were seized, and the couple could face up to five years in prison and a 375,000 euro fine.

Probably the most important pieces that were seized was a watercolour that was painted during the artist's famous Blue Period, as well as 9 Cubist paintings that make up a massive portion of the value of the art hoard. These pieces alone are estimated at a value of £24,500,000, making them as valuable as all the rest of the pieces put together.

It remains to be seen whether or not the couple will be found guilty, as the case is still winding its way through the various legal niceties, but regardless, it is good to see these masterworks back in the light of day where they can be appreciated by everyone.
 
 

Posted on February 18th 2015 on 02:34pm

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