A retired electrician and his wife have been convicted of concealing 271 stolen artworks by Pablo Picasso worth up to £70m/$100m They were ordered to return them to the artist’s family. The verdict was made yesterday in Grasse in the South of France. The couple claimed Picasso had given them the art treasure trove before he died in 1973, as a present. The works will now be returned to the Picasso family.
The case centers around hundreds of works of art, that were undocumented. The court concluded that the work was unlawfully removed from the Master’s studio in the 1970s. The couple had kept them stored in a garage for decades and were only caught when they tried to get them authenticated by the Picasso estate. The hoard included lithographs, portraits, watercolours and sketches, that were created between 1900 and 1932.
“Picasso had total confidence in me,” Le Guennec said during his trial. “Maybe it was my discretion.” He said that Picasso’s wife Jacqueline had given him a box with 271 works inside, saying “This is for you.” The estate argued that works of this nature would never have been gifted by the artist, due to their academic nature. None of the pieces were dedicated to Le Geunnec, a trademark of the artist’s manner of signing his work when presenting it as a gift. Prosecutors had called for Pierre Le Guennec, 75, and his wife Danielle to receive a five-year suspended jail sentence, but this was denied and a two year suspended sentence ordered.
Image Courtesy of Cate Halpin 2015