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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

£50m Picasso treasure trove found

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Pablo Picasso's Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto. A 'treasure trove' of the artist's works have been discovered in France

A French couple have come forward with 271 previously unknown works by Picasso – a staggering trove worth at least £50 million.

Picasso Administration lawyer Jean-Jacques Neuer said the retired French electrician and his wife showed many of the works to Picasso’s son Claude and other estate administrators in September.

Mr Neuer said the administrators believe the works are authentic.

It is unclear how the man – who worked for Picasso in the 1970s – came by the pictures. The estate administrators have taken legal action for alleged illegal receipt of the works.

The couple kept the works in their garage for years.

The cache, dating from the artist’s most creative period from 1900 to 1932, includes lithographs, portraits, watercolours and sketches – plus nine Cubist collages said to be worth £30 million alone.

Police investigators are looking into how the couple came by the pictures. They said they were given the works by Picasso and his wife Jacqueline.

Claude Picasso told French newspaper Liberation that his father was known for his generosity – but that he always dedicated, dated and signed his gifts as he knew that some recipients might try to sell the works one day.

“To give away such a large quantity, that’s unheard of. It doesn’t hold water,” he said. “This was part of his life.”

Mr Neuer said: “Claude Picasso was astounded. He couldn’t believe his eyes. Just about everybody has felt that way… when you have 271 Picasso works that were never seen, never inventoried – that’s just unprecedented.”

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