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Another improbable art find


A drawing reportedly by Pablo Picasso, part of a trove of 270 works by the Spanish artist stored in a garage by French electrician Pierre Le Guennec. (Image from

In October, City of Tonawanda resident Martin Kober attracted the eyes of the international art world when news came out that he owns what may be a painting by Michelangelo. The most repeated aspect of the story didn't have to do with the painting itself, but rather where it languished for a quarter century: collecting dust behind a couch in Kober's childhood home near Rochester.

Yesterday, news came of another unlikely discovery, this one by an electrician in France, the 71-year-old Pierre Le Guennec. (This according to the New York Observer, CNN and New York Magazine.) And the discovery seems even more flabbergasting: 271 paintings by Pablo Picasso, stored in a garage by the famed Spanish painter's former electrician. Le Guennec says the paintings were a gift from Picasso's second wife, Jacqueline Roque, but the caretakers of the late artist's estate aren't so sure. They've filed a suit claiming the works, reportedly made between 1900 and 1932, were stolen. No one, as yet, seems to be challenging the authenticity of the works.

The outcome of the case will be interesting to watch, as will critical appraisals of the pieces themselves, which will hopefully wind up on public view before long. However you look at it -- from Tonawanda to the French Riviera -- it's been a good year for art-world intrigue.

--Colin Dabkowski



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