PARIS — At least this much is clear: the art — 271 previously unknown sketches, watercolors and collages — is indeed the work of Picasso. But despite several weeks of accusations, counterclaims and deepening investigations, the mystery at the core of the case of Picasso and the electrician seems no closer to being solved.
Pierre Le Guennec, 71, a sickly retiree who did electrical work for the artist in the 1970s, says the works — worth an estimated $80 million — were a gift from his employer decades ago. Six relatives of Picasso suspect otherwise, and in September they filed a request for an investigation into whether the art had been stolen. Soon after, the police seized the works from Mr. Le Guennec’s home in Mouans-Sartoux, in the South of France.
A preliminary police investigation ensued; on Dec. 13 the case went to the next step when a magistrate in the area opened a judicial investigation to explore the possibility of “possession of stolen goods.” (No criminal charges have been filed.)