A retired French electrician shocked the art world on Monday after he came forward with dozens of unseen paintings by Spanish master Pablo Picasso.
Pierre Le Guennec, who once worked for Picasso installing burglar alarms in his houses across France, said the artist gave him the 271 pieces just before his death in 1973.
Once experts had authenticated the works however, Picasso’s heirs filed a complaint alleging receipt of stolen goods.
They are believed to be worth a total of sixty million euros.
Lawyers for the artist’s estate are sceptical that Picasso would have given away so many of his paintings.
“It’s an abnormal number of works,” said Picasso Administration lawyer Jean-Jacques Neuer.
“There’s no proof this man was a great friend of Picasso. It’s completely implausible.”
The treasure trove of watercolours, sketches and portraits were stashed away in Le Guennec’s home in the south of France.
Police have since confiscated the paintings and brought Le Guennec in for questioning.
The 71-year-old now faces a multi-million euro legal battle with the Picasso family over who rightfully owns them.