Picasso’s electrician lost his appeal over a trove of 271 works he allegedly stole.
Pierre Le Guennec and Danièle Le Guennec in court in 2016. Photo by Boris Horvat/AFP via Getty Images.
The court case against Pablo Picasso’s electrician may have finally drawn to a close, with a French court upholding two-year suspended jail sentences for Pierre Le Guennec and his wife Danielle. The case began in 2010, when Le Guennec attempted to authenticate a portion of the Picasso works stashed in his garage—271 works, including drawings, lithographs, and exceedingly rare Cubist collages from around 1900 to 1930 were ultimately found in his possession.
Le Guennec first told the Picasso Administration—which manages the Picasso estate and whom he had contacted for authentication certificates—he had been given the works after he installed alarm systems in several of Picasso’s homes. The fact that all of the works were unsigned raised concern: Claude Ruiz Picasso, the artist’s son and head of the Picasso Administration, said his father never gave away works without signing and dating them. But in an appeal, Le Guennec claimed Jacqueline Picasso, Pablo Picasso’s wife, hid sacks of Picasso works in Le Guennec’s home, and let him keep one bag of the works in return for his service.
According to The Art Newspaper, Anne-Sophie Nardon, lawyer of Jacqueline Picasso’s daughter Catherine Hutin, said she was “very happy that the memory of her mother, who has been slandered by the Le Guennecs, was completely rehabilitated.”
A court first convicted the Le Guennecs of theft in 2015, giving them a two-year suspended prison sentence, and the verdict was upheld by a higher court. In 2018, a French High Court annulled this conviction and ordered a retrial. The latest twist upholds the two-year suspended sentence, which means that the Le Guennecs will not face prison time as long as they follow court requirements.