Catherine Hutin-Blay the step-daughter of Pablo Picasso by his second wife Jacqueline has revealed that up to 407 works by the artist have been stolen from her private collection. Drawings, signed prints and catalogues by the artist are included in the missing inventory.
The French newspaper Le Parisien, stated that Hutin-Blay’s thefts were first discovered in 2011, when the Paris based Picasso Administration found a number of Picasso’s for sale at the Belle et Belle Gallery in Paris. These were items Hutin-Blay had inherited from her mother’s estate. The investigation that followed revealed a “well organised plot” to steal hundreds of works created by the multi-disciplined artist who spent much of his life in France.
The thefts were likely executed sometime between 2005 and 2007. Le Parisien also reported that a suspected conman Freddy Munchenbach a handyman was hired to do work for a neighbour, Baltazart-Eon, the 58-year-old daughter of Picasso’s art dealer Aimé Maeght, before working for Picasso’s step-daughter in Vauvenargues.
The stolen art valued at an unspecified sum but thought to be worth tens of millions of pounds included work by other artists including Miró, Kandinksy and Alberto Giacometti. Munchenbach allegedly fenced the masterpieces to the lithographer Toni Celano who was arrested in Italy last January.
Photo: © David Douglas Duncan 1957