On the heels of the recent French court ruling that found Picasso’s electrician guilty of stealing more than 60 million euros of artwork from him during the later years of his life that the electrician claimed was given to him as a gift from Picasso, comes news of another falsely owned Picasso artwork. A retired Italian framer claims the Picasso painting confiscated this week in a police raid was given to him in 1978 as a thank you gift from a widower for reframing a photograph. The framer claims he did not know it was a Picasso until last year, and once he did realize it he decided to auction it off to Sotheby’s which is how it came to the attention of the authorities.
The Cubist artwork, which depicts a violin and a bottle of Bass beer, was authenticated by police experts as a 1912 work by the Spanish artist and is estimated to be worth $16 million. Due to the murky provenance, an investigation is underway to discover the truth surrounding the work and find the owners should it in fact be found to have been stolen. This once again displays the fine line of a gift and the necessary paperwork that is needed to accompany them when dealing with such artworks and artists.