Picasso heiress says gardener stole 407 artworks from her

July 14, 2013 at 2:25 PM

PARIS, July 14 (UPI) -- The stepdaughter of Spanish artist Pablo Picasso alleges her gardener stole more than 400 pieces by Picasso and other artists.

Catherine Hutin-Blay, the daughter of Picasso's second wife, recently said in an interview that between 2005 and 2007, 407 sketches, watercolors and sanguines (drawings in red chalk) that he created between 1930 and 1970 went missing, ThinkSpain reported Sunday.

"All this is extremely painful for me and has upset me immensely -- I lived with Pablo [Picasso] from when I was four years old, I was his stepdaughter," Hutin-Blay told Parisien magazine.

Hutin-Blay said she suspects her gardener, Freddy Munchenbach, the Spanish news agency EFE reported.

"In the beginning I suspected everyone, until I got to Freddy. He worked for Sylvie Baltazart-Eon [heiress of art dealer Aime Maeght], when we were neighbors," she said. "I moved house but Sylvie and I are still friends. I never gave Freddy a spare key -- I didn't trust him -- he worked as a gardener at my old house and took advantage of this by getting a key cut for himself."

Along with Picasso's work, pieces by Kandinsky, Joan Miro, Antoni Tapies, Giacometti and Eduardo Chillida also went missing, EFE said.

The works stolen are worth as much as $2.6 million.

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