Pablo Picasso’s biographer doesn’t buy Pierre Le Guennec’s story that the great artist just gave him 271 lost or unknown works in exchange for electrical work. The works must have been from a large collection Picasso was forced to remove from his Paris apartment when the French government passed a law banning multiple residencies, John Richardson writes in Vanity Fair. He should know; he helped Picasso sort through them.
Richardson watched and helped as the artist dug through the unorganized collection, delighting in various discoveries. Picasso was especially thrilled to re-discover some group portraits of some close Barcelona friends. “These portraits have reappeared in Le Guennec’s cache,” says Richardson. “Picasso would never, in my opinion, have given away these works—not even to his wife.” Picasso also invariably signed and inscribed works he gave as gifts, yet only one of Le Guennec’s works is signed, and none inscribed.