Museum Security Network

Swiss dealer to defend Picasso sales before French judge

The Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier is due to be questioned today, 14 September, by a judge in Paris who is investigating the case of the alleged theft of 60 works by Picasso.The judge, Isabelle Rich-Flament, is investigating a complaint filed in March by the daughter of the artist’s wife Jacqueline Picasso. Pablo Picasso’s stepdaughter, Catherine Hutin-Blay, claims the works were stolen from a store in a Paris suburb run by Art Transit, a Bouvier family company.Bouvier sold the works for €36m to the Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev but the Swiss dealer’s spokesman says that he “never suspected they could have been stolen” and had proceeded with all due diligence, including consulting the Art Loss Register, which indicated the works were not registered as stolen.The inquiry in Paris was launched in March after Hutin-Blay learned that two portraits of her mother, dated 1957, were in Rybolovlev’s collection. The Art Newspaper can reveal that Bouvier also sold 58 drawings dated 1955. Bouvier’s lawyers and spokesman confirm the sales. Hutin-Blay told French police they disappeared from the same store. The Russian collector’s lawyer tells us he is ready to give everything back, if they were indeed stolen.

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