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PICASSO

Hidden Picassos: Court upholds guilty verdict for French couple

A French court on Friday upheld the two-year suspended sentences of Pablo Picasso's former electrician and his wife, who kept 271 of his artworks stashed in their garage for almost 40 years.

Hidden Picassos: Court upholds guilty verdict for French couple
Pierre Le Guennec and his wife were convicted last year of possessing stolen goods for hiding the works from Picasso's heirs.
   
At his original trial Le Guennec, who is in his late seventies, claimed that Picasso had presented him with the artworks towards the end of his life to reward him for his loyal service.
  
But he later changed his account, telling the appeal court that the works were part of a huge trove of art that Picasso's widow asked him to conceal after the artist's death in 1973.
   
He claimed that Jacqueline Picasso later retrieved most of the works but left him a bag containing 180 single pieces and a notebook containing 91 drawings as a gift.
   
The collection, whose value has not been assessed, includes drawings of women and horses, nine rare Cubist collages from the time Picasso was working with fellow French artist Georges Braque and a work from his “blue period”.
  
Other more intimate works include portraits of Picasso's mistress Fernande, drawings of his first wife Olga and a drawing of a horse for his children.
  
French authorities seized them after Le Guennec presented them to Picasso's son Claude Ruiz-Picasso in 2010 to try get them authenticated.
   
Ruiz-Picasso, who represents the artist's six heirs, subsequently pressed charges.

MUSEE D'ORSAY

Picasso’s $115-million ‘Young Girl’ to be loaned to Paris museum

Picasso's "Young Girl With Basket of Flowers," recently sold at a New York auction for $115 million, will be loaned to Paris's Musee d'Orsay for a Picasso exhibit opening in September.

Picasso's $115-million 'Young Girl' to be loaned to Paris museum
"Young Girl With Basket of Flowers" by Pablo Picasso on display during a Christie's preview. Photo: AFP

“We're very happy,” a museum spokesperson said Saturday in confirming the loan, first reported in The New York Times.

The painting was purchased at auction Tuesday by the Nahmads, a family of art dealers and collectors that includes Helly Nahmad, owner of a New York gallery, according to two sources quoted by the Times. Nahmad did not respond to an AFP request, through his gallery, for comment.

The Musee d'Orsay's “Picasso: Blue and Rose” exhibit is being organized in collaboration with the Picasso Museum-Paris and will focus on the artist's work from 1900-1906, encompassing his critically important Blue Period and Rose Period. It will run from September 18th to January 6th, 2019.

The exhibit will then move to the Beyeler Foundation near Basel, Switzerland, from February 3rd to May 26th, with a modified set of paintings. It is not clear whether the “Young Girl” will be part of that show.

The painting, from 1905, was part of a major auction by Christie's of the extensive collection of the late US banker David Rockefeller and his wife Peggy.

“Young Girl,” which the American collector Gertrude Stein and her brother Leo had purchased directly from the artist, was sold for the sixth-highest sum ever attained by a painting at auction, expenses and commissions included.

Four paintings by Picasso (1881-1973) have now been sold for more than $100 million each. No other painter has seen more than one piece of art reach that rarefied level.

Rockefeller, who died last year aged 101, was a grandson of oil magnate John D. Rockefeller. “Young Girl” was a centrepiece of his vast trove of artworks.

The Christie's sale brought in a total of $832 million, pulverizing the record for a single collection sale set in 2009, when the works of designer Yves Saint Laurent and his longtime partner Pierre Berge netted $484 million.

READ ALSO: Picasso's French Riviera mansion set to sell for 'bargain' €20 million

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