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LES ECHOS

The French Electrician With 271 Picassos In His Garage

In 2010, French police seized a huge stash of previously unseen Picasso drawings at the home of the late artist's electrician. Were they gifts or stolen goods? An ongoing trial will decide.

Pablo Picasso at his art exhibit in Vallauris in 1961
Pablo Picasso at his art exhibit in Vallauris in 1961
Doan Bui

GRASSE — It all started with a box. A box jam-packed with treasure — previously unseen, extremely rare Picasso drawings and collages, 271 works altogether. The box has been through everything imaginable. It survived flooding of the painter's workshop when the Seine River overflowed its banks, the German occupation, the Liberation, and it was carted about from home to home.

The deceased Pierre Daix, the best expert on the painter's works, once told us, "Picasso was often ejected from his Parisian workshops. He didn't know how to store his works anymore. It made him furious."

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Geopolitics

Is Soft Power Dead?

With an activist Supreme Court creating a gap between democratic rhetoric and reality in the U.S., and Russia and China eager to flex military muscle, the full-force return to hard power looks bound for dominance.

U.S. flag and Chinese flag

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — Russia's war in Ukraine rages on, tensions are erupting in the South China Sea and now abortion rights are being stripped away in the U.S.: Looking around the world, we have to ask: what is left of the notion of soft power?

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How can we talk about the power to convince when the power to coerce is increasingly the norm? And when there is such a gap between rhetoric and reality in the U.S. and in Russia and China, hard power almost seems to have become part of soft power?

“We will lead the world not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example,” Joe Biden said the day after his election. But what kind of example was he talking about? That of the Supreme Court’s judges, whose decision promises a terrible future to women and to all those who still wanted to believe in an enlightened and liberal America?

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