A huge cache of canvas painted by Pablo Picasso nearly 100 years ago were unveiled for the first time by a French man who claimed the art works were gifted to him by the legend.
The collection of 271 paintings, drawings, sketches and lithographs, many of which were previously unknown, dates from 1900 to 1932. The extraordinary works of Picasso, worth more than 50 million pounds, were found at the home of a retired French electrician, The Guardian reported.
The revelation came on Sept 9, when Pierre Le Guennec, in his 70s, approached the office of the Picasso Administration, which manages the artist's legacy, seeking certificate of authenticity of the artefacts.
In the office of Claude Picasso, 63, the late painter's son, who represents the artist's heirs and estate, he produced 175 different works that, he claimed, were by Picasso.
The art works include nine cubist collages worth at least 40 million euros, a painting from his celebrated blue period, drawings and models for some of his most important works and portraits of his first wife, the Russian ballerina Olga Khokhlova.
Experts said many of the paintings had a numbering system known only to the painter. Various works are from the period between 1900 and 1932, when the young and penniless Picasso arrived in France from Barcelona to the beginning of his recognition as one of the world's greatest artists.
Le Guennec also produced two notebooks containing 97 previously unseen drawings, along with 59 photographs of other pieces.
The electrician said Picasso and his wife Jacqueline had given him the pieces after he installed alarm systems at the painter's various homes, including the La Californie in Cannes, the Chateau de Vauvenargues and the mill at Notre Dame de Vie in Mougins, where Picasso died in 1973.
In October, police raided Le Guennec's home and confiscated a total of 271 items. Le Guennec was taken into custody but was released without being charged with any crime.
Claude Picasso told the French newspaper Liberation that the discovery came after Le Guennec sent him letters in January, March and April this year enclosing dozens of photographs of various Picasso works he said he owned, and asking for certificates of authenticity.
Dismissing them as fakes because they did not appear in any catalogue or inventory of the artist's known work, Claude Picasso refused Le Guennec's requests.
"Many of these pieces weren't dated, which shows they should never have left his studio," he said.
Claude Picasso said the collection has a "historic importance" as it was produced during a "crucial period; a revolutionary movement in art".