Picasso’s Former Electrician Has Been Found Guilty—Again—for Hoarding Up to 271 of the Artist’s Works in His Garage

He previously offered a few hard-to-believe stories explaining how he came to own the works.

Pierre Le Guennec, who is accused of receiving stolen goods after being found in possession of paintings by late Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, leaves the courtroom in France. (AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

A French couple, one of whom is the former electrician of Pablo Picasso, has been found guilty of possession of stolen goods by France’s top appeals court. It’s the conclusion of a 10-year legal saga over a trove of Picasso works that the two hoarded in their garage for 40 years.

Pierre Le Guennec, 80, and his wife, Danielle, 76, were originally convicted for the same crime in 2015 after the pair had approached one of the artist’s heirs, Claude Ruiz-Picasso, with a request to authenticate 271 works that they attributed to the late 20th-century master. That bounty included nine, rare Cubist collages, and a painting from Picasso’s iconic Blue period.

It was Pierre Le Guennec’s shady attempts to justify how he came to be in possession of the stash that originally sparked suspicion amongst Picasso’s descendants. A report was filed soon after their encounter, prompting an investigationduring which the former electrician changed his story.

Le Guennec had initially claimed that he was gifted the works by the artist late in his life, in a gesture of thanks for “loyal service.” He later changed his tune, telling an appeals court that the works were actually a mere chunk of a much larger collection which Picasso’s widow Jacqueline had inexplicably entrusted Le Guennec to hide following the artist’s death in 1973. 

He further elaborated on that story, saying that in accordance with Jacqueline’s alleged directive, he stored 12 garbage bags filled with unsigned works until she was able to retrieve them. There was one exception, according to this fantastical tale: A single bag of artworks left behind for Le Guennec with a simple explanation: “Keep this, it’s for you.”

Yesterday’s conviction marks the third instance in which Pierre and Danielle Le Guennec have been found guilty of the charges. With this final ruling passed by the Lyon Court, the two year suspended jail sentence for the husband and wife can no longer be appealed, as previous convictions were. Despite this, the pair maintain their innocence, and continue to deny stealing from Picasso.

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