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Picasso’s former electrician handed suspended sentence

Pierre Le Guennec and his wife Danielle at the courthouse in Grasse on February 10, 2015
Pierre Le Guennec and his wife Danielle at the courthouse in Grasse on February 10, 2015 Reuters/Eric Gaillard

Pierre Le Guennec and his wife Danielle, who hid 271 Picasso works in their garage for close to 40 years, were given a two-year suspended sentence by a French court on Friday.

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Following the trial that took place in the southern French town of Grasse, Pierre and Danielle Le Guennec were found guilty of possessing stolen goods.

The works have been seized by authorities and will be returned to the Picasso Administration, which represents the artist's heirs.

Prosecutors had called for the couple to receive a five-year suspended jail sentence.

Pierre Le Guennec, now 75 and retired, insisted throughout the trial that the art legend and his wife gave him the treasure trove when he was working on the last property they lived in before Picasso died in 1973.

“Picasso had total confidence in me. Maybe it was my discretion,” Le Guennec told the court.

“Monsieur and Madame called me ‘little cousin’,” he said.

He said that one day, Picasso's wife Jacqueline came up to him and gave him a box with the 271 works inside, saying “this is for you.”

When he got home, he found what he described as “drawings, sketches, crumpled paper.”

Uninterested in the haul, he put the box in his garage and discovered it again decades later in 2009.

He went to Paris the following year to get the works authenticated at the Picasso Administration, but the artist's heirs promptly filed a complaint against him.
 

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