Electrician Reveals Trove of Lost Picassos

Legal battle looms over 271 previously unseen works
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2010 10:26 AM CST
Electrician Reveals Trove of Lost Picassos
This photo provided Monday Nov.29, 2010 by the Succession Picasso shows a drawing of a guitar by Picasso.   (AP Photo/Succession Picasso)

A retired electrician has come forward with a treasure trove of 271 previously unseen paintings and sketches from Pablo Picasso, which he says the master painter gave him after he helped install alarm systems in several of his homes, the AFP reports. There’s just one problem: Picasso’s heirs don’t believe his story, and have filed a complaint alleging he stole the paintings.

Picasso's son, Claude, actually helped the electrician, 71-year-old Pierre Le Guennec, authenticate the paintings. But once experts verified they were real—and estimated their value at around $80 million—the Picasso estate filed its complaint, with Claude arguing that his father wouldn’t give away that much work to anyone. “That doesn’t stand up,” he told the AFP. “It was a part of his life.” Le Guennec, meanwhile, professes his innocence. “This was a gift,” his wife tells the AP. “We aren’t thieves.” (Read more Pablo Picasso stories.)

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