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A major Swiss art dealer was on Monday placed under investigation in Paris and given a €27 million bail for the “concealed theft” of two Picasso paintings which the Spanish artist’s family said were never for sale.

Yves Bouvier, 52, faces charges of hiding the fact that two gouache paintings - Tête de femme. Profil (Woman's head. Profile) and Espangole à l'éventail (Spanish woman with a fan) - he sold to a Russian oligarch in 2013 were in fact stolen from Picasso’s stepdaughter – Catherine Hutin-Blay.

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A French art dealer has been taken into custody after Picasso's step-daughter accused him of stealing some of the artist's works, a judicial source said Wednesday.

Catherine Hutin-Blay, the daughter of Pablo Picasso's second wife Jacqueline Roque, filed a complaint against art dealer Olivier Thomas in March after noticing some of her paintings were on the market, the source said, confirming a report in British daily "The Telegraph."

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Catherine Hutin-Blay, the daughter of Pablo Picasso’s (1881-1973) second wife, claims that a handyman stole over 400 of the artist’s sketches and watercolors from her. Hutin-Blay inherited a sizable chunk of Picasso’s oeuvre when her mother passed away as well as the home in the south of France where her stepfather and mother are buried.

Hutin-Blay believes that between 2005 and 2007 Freddy Munchenbach made off with 407 Picasso originals. She became suspicious after a number of works surfaced at auction in 2011. Munchenbach worked as a handyman for Hutin-Blay as well as the daughter of Picasso’s art dealer, who noticed pieces were missing from her own collection.  

The works, which are said to be worth less than $3,000 altogether, carry a much lower estimate than other Picasso works. The thief will most likely be unable to sell the works as collectors rarely buy art lacking authenticity, provenance and a legal title.

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