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Picasso's Electrician to Inherit More Picassos from a Cousin

Picasso's Electrician to Inherit More Picassos from a Cousin

Retired electrician Pierre Le Guennec (pictured outside his home in Mouans-Sartoux, France) and his wife have acquired part of a second Picasso collection through inheritance.


December 09, 2010

MOUANS-SARTOUX, France— As a French art crime squad continues to investigate the provenance of the 271 works by Picasso that Pierre Le Guennec, the artist’s former electrician, has claimed were gifts, another trove of Picassos has also made the news. The artist is said to have given several works to his chauffeur, Maurice Bresnu, who in 1991 bequeathed the collection to his widow, Jacqueline Bresnu. Following her death in 2009, the works were scheduled to be auctioned by Drouot today, but the heirs unexpectedly decided to postpone the sale without explaining why. Now, Pierre Le Guennec has revealed that Jacqueline Bresnu is a cousin and that he and his wife, and Danièle, are among those who will inherit this new cache of Picassos.

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His Blue Period

Danièle Le Guennec told AFP that “six of us have inherited this collection, which we didn’t know about until this cousin [Jacqueline] passed away. We didn’t know there was all this, because we weren’t close with the Bresnus, we hadn’t seen them in a long time.” The electrician’s wife added, “This comes up at a bad time, even though we’re serene about it, because we don’t have anything to hide.”

Maurice Bresnu (whose name has been also been spelled “Bressenu” in the French media) received the works when he worked for Picasso between 1967 and 1973. The artist nicknamed him “Nounours” or “Teddy Bear” and frequently drew bears for him. The most impressive piece of Bresnu’s collection is “Nu Féminin aux Regards Masculins,” (“Female Nude with Masculine Expression”) a 1972 painting estimated at €60-80,000 ($80-107,000). According to Le Figaro, other highlights in the planned sale include portraits of the artist’s son Paulo in a toreador costume (est. €30-50,000 or $40-67,000) and his daughter Paloma with a doll (est. €20-40,000 or $27-53,000). Both are painted on ceramic tile and dated 1956.

While the Picasso estate would not comment on the matter, Drouot auctioneer Pierre Blanchet told Libération that “there is no problem with provenance or authentication” and that “the sale will probably take place in another three months.” However, it is not known whether Claude Picasso, the only heir recognized by the Picasso Administration to have the authority to sign certificates of authenticity, has authenticated the Bresnu collection. Maya Widmaier-Picasso, the artist’s daughter, participated in writing the catalogue for the Bresnu sale, copies of which are now a hot item, as it has been withdrawn from circulation by Drouot.

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