Picasso's never-before-seen 'treasure trove' discovered in trunk (Photos)
One oft-told tale of Pablo Picasso is that when presented with a bill at a bar, he'd whip off a sketch on a napkin, sign and date it, and the bill would be considered paid. The artist produced some 20,000 pieces of work in his long life, the Metropolitan Museum of Art told the Associated Press. And 271 of those pieces have just been discovered in a trunk at a retired French electrician's home.
The treasure trove of never-before-seen work, authenticated by the artist's estate, was revealed to the art world Sunday. However, the estate is questioning if the pieces were really a gift from the prolific artist or if they were stolen by the electrician, who once worked for Picasso.
Pierre Le Guennec, the 71-year-old former electrician, and his wife brought the artwork to the estate's notice in September, seeking to have it authenticated. They said the artist gave them the pieces as a gift. Picasso's son Claude, however, thinks their story does not "hold water" and has filed a suit for alleged illegal receipt of the works.
The total estimated value of the collection is around $79.35 million.
I'd like to think the artwork-on-a-napkin story is true and that Picasso did hand off 271 pieces of art to his electrician for a light bulb well installed.
| November 29, 2010; 12:38 PM ET
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