According to a recent Artsy article, a retired electrician told a French appeals court that he lied about how he came to be in the possession of 271 works on paper by Pablo Picasso.
77-year-old Pierre Le Guennec, hired by Picasso in the 1970s for a series of odd jobs, originally claimed that the painter’s wife Jacqueline Picasso had gifted him a box full of artworks in 1971 or 1972. After Le Guennec and his wife were convicted in March 2015 for possessing stolen goods, the couple appealed.
Now, the electrician has revealed a new version of the story: he claims that Jacqueline was trying to prevent Picasso’s grandson Claude Ruiz Picasso from inventorying certain works for the artist’s succession. She therefore stored 15 to 17 sacks full of Picasso works in the Le Guennecs’ home after the Spanish painter’s death in April 1973, leaving one behind as a thank-you when she reclaimed the bags later that year.
Le Guennec’s revision marks the latest development in a long-running dispute over the provenance of these rediscovered works—a legal battle as “surrealistic” as a Picasso work itself, according to one lawyer involved in the case.