Electrician Stuns Art World with Trove of Picasso Works of Art; Heirs Not Convinced

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PARIS (REUTERS).- Pablo Picasso was both hugely prolific and famously generous with his work, but was he enough of a free spirit to give hundreds of his early works — an invaluable collection — to his electrician? That question lies at the heart of a court case over the origin of 271 Picasso works — a treasure trove of original sketches, paintings and collages that was unknown to the art world a few months ago and unveiled for the public on Monday. Experts have yet to appraise the full collection, which has been placed under lock and key after a judicial appeal by Picasso’s heirs. But there is little dispute so far over its authenticity. The works, many of which belong to the artist’s Blue and Cubist periods, could fetch more than 60 million euros ($79 million) at auction. More mysterious is how such an extensive collection could have wound up in the hands of a retired electrician in the south of France who once worked for the Picasso family, or why he chose to hold onto it f