Where would you find 271 previously unseen works by Pablo Picasso? In a garage, of course. Picasso’s former electrician, Pierre Le Guennec, and his wife, Danielle, are accused of handling over 271 stolen Picasso masterpieces. The works have been sitting in Le Guennec’s garage for over forty years. Le Guennec contends that Picasso’s wife, Jacqueline, gave him the paintings in a closed box, while Picasso’s son argues that his father would never give away so many prized works. The art came to the attention of authorities when Le Guennec reached out to the Picasso Administration because he was worried about what might happen to the art after his death and sought to get his affairs in order for his children. Now, the works have been confiscated from Le Guennec and Le Guennec and Danielle have been charged with handling stolen art. They face up to five years in prison and a € 375,000 fine. Interestingly, no evidence was introduced about who actually stole the works, as Le Guennec was just charged with handling stolen art, not stealing it. So, who did it? The Picasso Administration’s attorney accused Le Guennec and Danielle of participating in international artwork laundering. The attorney asserted that the art was only given to Le Guennec because of his connection and past with Picasso. The trial ended on February 12 and the verdict will be announced on March 20. Picasso is well known as the artist with the most stolen work. More than 1,000 of his paintings are thought to have been stolen and new revelations of stolen artwork are appearing daily. Will these 271 garage-hidden works be added to that number?

Robyn Taylor

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5 Responses to Parking Next to Picasso

  1. Lisa Taylor says:

    Great blog post Robyn! I only wish I had found a Picasso in our garage while cleaning it out a while ago. I did, however, stumble upon a family of owls painted at Nashville’s Sips N Strokes — priceless!

  2. Katherine Dutcher says:

    The verdict is out! The electrician and his wife have been ordered to return the more than 200 works, and were given a two-year suspended sentence.

  3. Neil Issar says:

    Le Guennec’s theft is both shocking and re-volt-ing. I can think of amp’le reasons why he should be charged.

  4. Leonard Folgarait says:

    A superb piece of reporting by someone who knows art history intimately and has been able to shed the perspective of law onto this puzzling case. It is so ironic that Picasso continues to be provocative and infamous even when his art is invisible!
    A balanced, fair, and well-written piece of investigative journalism!

  5. Dan Ward says:

    Robyn, fascinating post! I had no idea Picasso was such a prolific victim of theft. I wonder what factors contribute to this; value of the paintings, name recognition for the cubist master, particularly poor security for Picasso paintings? This is a truly interesting instance of violation at the interface of intellectual and real property. I personally think that the Monsieur Le Guennec was on good terms with Picasso as his electrician and that Picasso gifted these paintings. It will be interesting to see how this plays out for M. Le Guennec. Please keep me “posted.”