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271 new Picassos: By the numbers
A retired French electrician has come forward with hundreds of "never-before-seen" works by the master, claiming Picasso gave them to him as gifts
 
This retired French electrician says he received 271 Picasso works as gifts for installing alarm systems in the late artist's homes.
This retired French electrician says he received 271 Picasso works as gifts for installing alarm systems in the late artist's homes.
Corbis

A retired French electrician named Pierre Le Guennec and his wife have shocked the art world, and Picasso's heirs, by coming forward with 271 "never-before-seen works" by the Spanish artist. Le Guennec says Picasso's late second wife, Jaqueline Roque, gave him the artworks as "gifts" after he installed alarm systems in three of the Picassos' French Riviera homes. The artist's heirs, however, dispute that story and have filed charges against Le Guennec, while authorities have confiscated all the artwork. "To give away such a large quantity, that's unheard of," Picasso's son Claude says, noting that many of the pieces aren't dated: "He always dated, signed and wrote dedications in his gifts, knowing that some people would go on to sell them to meet their needs." (Watch an al Jazeera report about the Picassos.) Here, a by-the-numbers guide to the controversial discovery:

271
Number of sketches, paintings, and notebooks that are being investigated, including a watercolor from Picasso's "blue" period, a portrait of his first wife, Olga, and some 200 drawings

More than $80 million
Approximate total worth of the cache, "believed to be authentic" according to The Associated Press

9
Number of "highly prized" Cubist collages among the work

$52 million
Approximate worth of the Cubist collages alone

1900 to 1932
Period during which Picasso, who died in 1973, reportedly created the items

3 years
The length of time Le Guennec spent working for Picasso, installing alarm systems in his various French homes

More than 20,000
The number of works of art Picasso produced during his lifetime, according to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art

26
The number of "amateur photographs" Le Guennec sent to Picasso's son, Claude, last January, when enquiring about having the pieces authenticated. Experts quickly concluded that they were the real thing.

6
The number of Picasso heirs that filed suit once the items were found to be authentic. Le Guennec was arrested on "suspicion of handling illegally obtained goods," questioned, and released.

Unknown
Length of the legal battle that is expected to ensue over who rightfully owns the works

Sources: Telegraph, USA Today, BBC, AP

 

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