lost art


So 271 “new” Picassos have been discovered. They were living with a former electrician of Picasso’s, who claimed that, near the end of his life, the artist gave the works to him as gifts and as payment. Picasso’s heirs, of course, are suing and charging the man with theft. Two hundred seventy-one new works by Pablo Picasso, ranging from 1900 to 1932. New works from his blue period, a new portrait of his first wife, Olga. You can hear the auction houses warming up their gavels, can’t you? Scholars lining up to recalibrate the Picasso timeline. It’s unclear so far who has been wronged here — the heirs, who possibly should have inherited these works after Picasso’s death? The electrician and his wife, who apparently never tried to sell and profit from these pieces, despite their value reaching the tens of millions? The public — historians, museum-goers, scholars, art lovers — who were not even aware they were missing such a large part of Picasso’s oeuvre? The elderly electrician has been arrested and shamed by the heirs for “concealing” these great works. The works have been confiscated from the electrician’s home as everyone debates where their new home should be. When it comes to art, “private” and “public” take on confused, tangled meanings.

more from Jessa Crispin at The Smart Set here.