$465K Picasso Drawing Found in ‘Suspicious’ Traveler’s Suitcase

July 21, 2022

He’s probably in his own Blue Period now that he’s been caught.

Spanish authorities’ suspicions about a man were confirmed when they caught him trying to smuggle a work by Pablo Picasso back into the country in his suitcase.

The Guardian reports how the passenger had arrived at Ibiza Airport earlier this month after vacationing in Zurich, Switzerland.

ARTnews continues to report how customs officials claimed the man “looked suspicious,” prompting Spanish custom agents to search the unnamed man’s luggage. It was then that they discovered the 1966 drawing—titled “Trois Personnages”—which is estimated to be worth roughly $465,000.

The same Guardian article notes that the man did have a receipt from an art gallery in Zurich confirming how he had paid for the work. However, Spanish custom agents later told outlets that he failed to declare the artwork, meaning he could face possible charges of smuggling for failing to declare an object of value.

CNN notes that the man also initially claimed the Picasso was only a copy worth far less than that. He later admitted this wasn’t so after the agents had found the receipt confirming the true price.

It doesn’t appear that this drawing is the only one titled “Trois Personnages” by Picasso: Sotheby’s once listed another sketch with the same name which originally came from the collection of Picasso’s granddaughter, Marina.

He also created a “Trois Personnages” ceramic plaque as listed by Christie’s.

The potential penalties the man faces for these possible charges remains unconfirmed.

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