Electrician’s Picasso Collection
A retired electrician, Pierre Le Guennec, claims that Pablo Picasso’s wife gifted him with a few of his works before her death in 1986. Yet, Picasso’s heirs aren’t convinced that this is the case.
Knowledge of the collection became apparent when a letter was written to Claude Picasso–son of the famous artist–stating Le Guennec’s ownership of the works and regarding the authenticity of the pieces.
Le Guennec worked on the Picasso property in the south of France during the 1970s. When questioned by the media about the collection, Le Guennec stated, “It’s Madame (Picasso) who gave them. But if Madame gave them, Monsieur was aware of it. She wasn’t going to do it just like that, was she?” The retired electrician denied stealing the paintings and was inquiring about their value as a possible inheritance for his children.
Those closest to the artist say that, even though he was known to part with mere sketches, he wouldn’t have just gifted a trove of his artwork to an electrician.
“We have questions, legitimate questions about where the paintings came from,” Claudia Andrieu, legal counsel for the Picasso Foundation, told Reuters Television. “We are discovering new pieces, completely unknown pieces that had never been printed in any book.”
The Picasso Foundation reports that Le Guennec has changed his story many times as to how he acquired the paintings. First, it was Pablo Picasso, himself, who gifted the electrician with this collection, then Madame Picasso, and then the works were left in a box or trashcan.
The Picasso Foundation has convinced a judge to secure the works to be taken care of by experts until the claims by Pierre Le Guennec can be proven or disproven in court. Among the works are as well as portraits of the artist’s first wife, Olga Khokhlova, a watercolor from Picasso’s Blue period, several painted hand studies, some 30 lithographs and over 200 drawings, and nine rare Cubist collages. These are updated by the artist, which suggests the paintings should have never left the studio.