Last week, a retired French electrician and his wife have come forward with 271 undocumented, never-before-seen works by Pablo Picasso estimated to be worth at least €60 million. They had squirreled away the staggering trove — believed to be authentic — in their garage on the French Riviera. The former electrician claimed to have worked at three of Picasso's residences — and once installed a security alarm system for the artist.
The cache, dating from the artist's most creative period from 1900 to 1932, includes lithographs, portraits, watercolors, sketches in sketchbooks, palettes — plus nine Cubist collages. In September, Pierre Le Guennec, a 71-year-old former electrician who once worked for Picasso, and his wife, showed many of the works to Picasso's son Claude in Paris seeking to have the works certified as authentic. The couple said that they were given the works by Picasso and his wife, Jacqueline.Claude Picasso noted that his father was known for his generosity — but that he always dedicated, dated and signed his gifts, as he knew that some recipients might try to sell the works one day. "To give away such a large quantity, that's unheard-of. It doesn't hold water," Claude Picasso was quoted as saying.
New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art says Picasso produced more than 20,000 works of art during his long career. Hundreds have been listed as missing — a number so large in part because he was so prolific.