Yves Bouvier to Be Questioned In Paris Court Over 60 Missing Picassos

How did works in storage end up in the possession of the Russian billionaire?

Yves Bouvier has won an appeal against asset freezePhoto: Seah Kwang Peng via The Strait

Yves Bouvier has won an appeal against asset freeze
Photo: Seah Kwang Peng via The Strait

The international legal battles of former freeport king Yves Bouvier continue in Paris on September 14 as the Swiss art dealer prepares to answer questions from a French judge about his alleged involvement with 60 missing Picasso artworks (two paintings and 58 drawings).

The works, which vanished from a storage facility in a suburb of Paris, have been in storage in France, as part of the collection of Picasso’s stepdaughter Catherine Hutin-Blay. This past spring, Hutin-Blay discovered that the works were missing and they appear to have turned up in the collection of Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who acquired them in transactions reportedly brokered by Bouvier and one of his associates.

Ms. Hutin Blay’s attorney, a representative for Bouvier, and Rybolovlev’s attorney have not responded for comment.

Picasso's step-daughter Catherine Hutin-Blay.  Photo by Serge Mercier. Courtesy of PHOTOPQR/LA PROVENCE.

Picasso’s step-daughter Catherine Hutin-Blay.
Photo by Serge Mercier. Courtesy of PHOTOPQR/LA PROVENCE.


News of today’s Paris court proceedings was reported in The Art Newspaper. According to the report Judge Isabelle Rich-Flament is researching the complaint filed by Hutin-Blay, who is the daughter of Picasso’s third wife, Jacqueline Picasso. Hutin-Blay alleged that the works were stolen from a store in a suburb of Paris that is run by Art Transit, a Bouvier family company, according to the report.

Dmitry Rybolvelv

Dmitry Rybolvelv.
Photo: Courtesy of AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau.

Bouvier reportedly sold the works for €36 million ($40 million) to Rybolovlev. One new tidbit of information in the Art Newspaper report is the news that 58 drawings by Picasso are part of the investigation in addition to the two missing Picasso paintings previously identified.

A lawyer for Bouvier previous told The Art Newspaper that he had asked for certificates from the Art Loss Register for all of the works in question and that none of them came up as “missing or stolen.”

The report says Bouvier is cooperating with the French judge now that he has won a judgment in a Singapore appeals court to unfreeze his assets.

Earlier this month, following the order to unfreeze his assets Bouvier gave a lengthy interview to Swiss newspaper 24 hours in which he promised to hit back at his former client Dmitry Rybolovlev, who accused Bouvier of swindling him on a number of pricey art transactions.

Related Coverage:

French Judge Fines Yves Bouvier Massive $30 Million Over Reportedly Stolen Picassos

Picasso’s Stepdaughter Accuses French Dealer and Yves Bouvier Partner of Theft

Art Loss Register Embroiled in at Least Three Major International Disputes

Dealer Olivier Thomas Detained in France After Accusations of Theft by Picasso Stepdaughter 

Did Dmitry Rybolovlev Buy Painting Stolen From Picasso’s Stepdaughter?






Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
  • Access the data behind the headlines with the artnet Price Database.