Pierre Le Guennec, a retired electrician who worked on Pablo Picasso's home in the 1970s, has now said he lied in an earlier trial to protect himself and Jacqueline Picasso. Le Guennec kept nearly 300 Picasso artworks in his garage for almost 40 years.
In an appeal court in Aix-en-Provence last week, he said the artist’s widow may have wanted to hide the works from the rest of the Picasso family.
According to The Guardian, Le Guennec, convicted last year with his wife of possessing stolen goods, said Picasso’s widow Jacqueline asked him to store between 15 and 17 rubbish bags containing artworks after he died in April 1973. He said that some time later she retrieved the bags but gave him one of them, saying: “Keep this, it’s for you.”
He said the widow was possibly trying to prevent the works from being inventoried for the succession, and said he did not tell the truth in the earlier trial out of “fear of being accused, along with Madame, of stealing these bags.” The 77-year-old had previously testified to being given the drawings while the artist was still alive, in 1971 or 1972.
Pierre and his wife were initially given two-year suspended prison terms for possessing stolen goods by a court in March 2015. The could now face up to five years in prison and a fine either equal to half the value of the artwork in question, or €375,000, whichever figure ends up being higher. The works have been unofficially estimated to be worth over €60 million.