Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Picasso's alarm installer

Another really interesting story from over the weekend: a 71-year old retired electrician seems to have ended up with nearly 300 works by Picasso. He claims they were a gift from the artist. The Picasso estate has filed a lawsuit in France, claiming the works were stolen.

The New York Times story is here.

Tyler Cowen headlined his post: How willing are you to believe another human being?

The Village Voice went with: Pablo Picasso's Electrician Was Either Very Lucky or Very Sneaky.

New York magazine says: "maybe Picasso just really, really valued his electrician?"

Tom Flynn: "how many Picasso drawings does it take to change a light bulb?" (Nice one!)

And lawprof Jonathan Turley sizes up the legal claims:

"The man worked for Picasso in the 1970s and this could create a fascinating contest over credibility if [he] has no written record. The absence of any prior disclosure certainly makes the claim somewhat suspicious. Such cases can become the ultimate jury question — with members looking at the practices of the artist. It is quite common for many artists to give away their works, even as payment for services. This number of paintings, however, would represent a lot of work or a lot of friendship. . . . Picasso died a few years later and was already an international superstar in the art field. This was not some starving painter trading paintings for baguettes. Moreover, it is hard to see how much of a friendship could have developed over the course of the installation of a security system. Of course, there is always the possibility that Picasso was simply eccentric and a bit daffy in his final years. Anyway it goes, it should make for an interesting tort or criminal case or both."