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LES ECHOS

His Chauffeur, An Electrician And The Mysterious $50 Million Stash Of Picassos

In late 2010, the art world was stunned when retired French electrician Pierre Le Guennec made it known that they were in possession of no fewer than 271 previously unseen Picassos. Digging deep, Le Monde finds connections directly to the master himself.

Picasso at the opening of an exhibition, 1962 (Fritz Schueller)
Picasso at the opening of an exhibition, 1962 (Fritz Schueller)
Michel Guerrin

PARIS -- Picasso called him Nounours, a French term for ‘teddy bear." This former taxi driver was the chauffeur, aide and confidant of the Spanish master during the last years of his life, from 1966 to 1973, which he spent on the Côte d'Azur in southern France. Photos bear witness to their closeness: in one, Picasso and Nounours are seated at a table on the terrace of the villa at Mougins; in another they are in the stands in Arles to see a bullfight. Nounours' wife, Jacqueline, often appears in the photos as well.

The artist used to send the couple postcards. He even gave them some works of art – hundreds, in fact, especially drawings. Seven carry Picasso's signature. The rest don't, which is why suspicions have arisen. Did Nounours and his wife – Maurice and Jacqueline Bresnu – help themselves to Picasso's treasures? The art world has been asking itself this question for a long time, painting the Bresnu couple as "fiendish." But the truth may never be discovered. Maurice died in 1991. Jacqueline passed away in 2009, taking their secrets to the grave. The couple had no children.

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Ukrainian protestors stand at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to mark Vyshyvanka Day, an International day to celebrate Ukrainian heritage and traditions

Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Bertrand Hauger.

👋 Guten Tag!*

Welcome to Friday, where Russia intensifies shelling in eastern Ukraine, Biden lands in South Korea, and a Mercedes becomes the most expensive car ever sold. Meanwhile, for German daily die Welt, Cosima Lutz explores the sizzling question of the skyrocketing price of cooking oils.

[*German]

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