Pablo Picasso's stepdaughter says a handyman stole 407 sketches and watercolors by the renowned artist from a filing cabinet while doing work around her house, The Telegraph reports
Catherine Hutin-Blay checked to make sure the pictures, valued from $2 million to $3 million, were there after hearing that one of the pieces supposedly in the cabinet went on auction, she told Le Parisien, according to The Daily Mail
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The same handyman, Freddy Munchenbach, is accused of additionaly stealing 200 pieces by Picasso, Kandinsky, and other artists from one of Hutin-Blay’s neighbors, Sylvie Baltazart-Eon, the daughter of Picasso’s art dealer, The Huffington Post reported
Hutin-Blay believes the thefts occurred during 2005 and 2007, but weren't discovered until 2011, she told Le Parisien.
She didn’t trust the handyman enough to give him a key to her house, Hutin-Blay explained to Le Parisien
, according to The Huffington Post, but he made a key for himself.
As Hutin-Blay looked back at that time period to determine who may have taken the valuable artwork, she at first suspected “everybody.” But she began to focus in on Munchenbach.
The investigation is ongoing. Only 22 of the pieces have been recovered, The Telegraph reported.
The Atlantic Wire quoted Robert Wittman, who founded the FBI art crime team, as saying that the thief probably couldn’t get big dollars
for the stolen pieces simply because provenance, legal title, and other issues are critical in selling art.
“So unless you’re stealing it just to admire, their attempts to sell it are going to end in failure,” Wittman told an Atlantic reporter.
A survey last year showed Picasso has more artwork stolen than any other artist, The Daily Mail said, with 1,147 pieces reported missing.
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