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

Is a Paris dealer responsible for works that went missing in transit?


Picasso y Jacqueline Roque 015

Jacqueline and Pablo Picasso. Image: via Es Mas

According to a report in the Telegraph, a stepdaughter of Picasso is accusing a top Paris art dealer—who is also a partner of embattled Luxumbourg Freeport owner Yves Bouvier— of allegedly stealing artworks from her. The French office known as OCBC, which oversees trafficking of cultural goods, is investigating (see Steve Cohen’s Modigliani and $75 Million Leonardo At Heart of Bouvier Case and Accused of Art Fraud, Yves Bouvier Steps Down From Le Freeport.)

Catherine Hutin-Blay, the sole daughter of Picasso’s controversial second wife, Jacqueline Roque, alleges that the dealer, Olivier Thomas, is behind the disappearance of several works in her collection, according to the report. Prosecutors would not provide an estimate of the value of the missing works, according to the Telegraph.

Prosecutors are pursuing a “judicial inquiry” on Thomas for theft, receiving stolen goods, and fraud, spanning a three-year time period starting in March 2012 and continuing through the past March. A source told the paper that the inquiry into Thomas could be linked to a broader investigation into criminal activity in the art world. (see Top 13 Art World Jailbirds.)

Hutin-Blay, who inherited a large group of Picassos when her mother passed away in 1986, was also among a group of Picasso family members who were civil plaintiffs in a case in France in which a retired electrician who had worked for Picasso was ordered to return 271 stolen Picasso works worth about $67 million that he claimed were given to him as gifts (see Picasso Electrician Found Guilty, Must Return Works and $179 Million Picasso Sets Stratospheric Record At Christie’s $705.9 Million Looking Forward Sale.)

Thomas is a business partner of Bouvier, who was accused this past February of defrauding his client, Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, by misrepresenting prices on artworks he sold to him, including a pricey Amedeo Modigliani painting. Bouvier was arrested in Monaco and is free on €10 million bail.

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