Picasso’s Electrician on Trial Over Disputed Cache

Picasso’s Electrician on Trial Over Disputed CachePicasso’s Electrician on Trial Over Disputed Cache

A French court has opened proceedings in the trial of Pablo Picasso’s former electrician and his wife who stand accused of stealing 271 pieces of the artist’s work. The cache includes lithographs, portraits, a watercolor and sketches created between 1900 and 1932.

Pierre and Danielle Le Guennec claim they were given the art, worth around $90 million by Picasso’s second wife. The Picasso estate says their account is “ridiculous” and is suing them for illegal possession of the works, BBC reported.

Picasso’s son Claude has insisted his father would “never” have given such a large quantity of works to anyone. “That doesn’t stand up. These works were part of his life,” he said in a statement.

Le Guennec began working as a general handyman at Picasso’s estate in Southern France in 1970.

He says that he and his wife Danielle were given 180 lithographs, collages and paintings and 91 drawings in 1970 by the artist’s then-wife, Jacqueline. He claims she gave him the works in a closed box containing the works, saying, “Here, it’s for you. Take it home.”

Danielle recalled that her husband came home with a stuffed bag, and told her that Picasso had given the works to him.

The works, which have never been displayed publicly, were kept virtually untouched in Le Guennecs’ garage until the couple decided to put their affairs in order for their children in 2010.

According to Le Guennec’s lawyer, he started worrying around five years ago about what might happen to the works after his death. He contacted the Picasso administration, which looks after works held by his heirs.

The duo were initially released without charge while an investigation was launched to establish how they had come by the paintings, but eight months later they were formally charged.