Written by P.M. Wortham
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Monday, 29 November 2010

image for Picasso Authenticity Fails Conan O'Brien Test

Still scrutinizing more than 270 supposedly unreleased works from Pablo Picasso, French authorities and the Picasso Estate now have their doubts as to the authenticity of the recently found cache despite claims from a Paris electrician that the works are indeed original, having simply been retrieved from his basement. Commenting briefly to the press late this afternoon, one Picasso expert said, "Some of the works appear to be very recent, one even appearing to be a portrait of Conan O'Brien, an American talk show host".

Though Picasso died in 1973, his estate was meticulously managed by members of the artist's family. It was surprising to the family, when subject matter in pencil drawings, water color and lithographs were found outside the control of the estate. Many of the artworks also seemed to be topical, but tied to events and subject matter found decades after the master's death.

"There is one cubist-impressionism drawing that most certainly looks like Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev playing Cricket in the nude. A truly brilliant piece", says Sotheby's appraiser, Frederick Hoisington. "and another that looks like a teenager surfing porn on a 21 inch computer monitor. The style is most definitely Picasso, but the content is too recent".

Authorities were still hoping to declare the basement find "authentic", given the obscure interpretation that could be made about the cubist style, but were convinced of the ruse after finding the "Conan O'Brien painting". "It was hard to tell if it was actually the American late night host", says Hoisington, "cubism does distort facial features, but when we confirmed the Tokyo Sandblaster tee-shirt worn by the red haired man in the painting, we knew we had something very recent".

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