VF's The Battle for Picasso’s Multi-Billion-Dollar Empire

Vanity Fair just published an interesting article on the estate of Picasso.The estate left 45,000 works with all sorts of complications. The Vanity Fair article takes a look at the complicated estate situation.

The below block quote is only a small portion of the article, follow the source link below for the full article.

Vanity Fair reports
When Picasso died, 43 years ago at the age of 91, he left an astounding number of works—more than 45,000 in all. (“We’d have to rent the Empire State Building to house all the works,” Claude Picasso said when the inventory was completed.) There were 1,885 paintings, 1,228 sculptures, 7,089 drawings, 30,000 prints, 150 sketchbooks, and 3,222 ceramic works. There were vast numbers of illustrated books, copperplates, and tapestries. And then there were the two châteaux and three other homes. (Picasso lived in and worked in about 20 places from 1900 to 1973.) According to one person familiar with the estate, there was $4.5 million in cash and $1.3 million in gold. There were also stocks and bonds, the value of which was never made public. In 1980 the Picasso estate was appraised at $250 million, but experts have said the true value was actually in the billions.

Picasso did not leave a will. The division of his holdings took six years, with often bitter negotiations among the heirs. (There were seven then.) The settlement cost $30 million and produced what has been described as a saga worthy of Balzac. The family, writer Deborah Trustman noted at the time, “resembles one of Picasso’s Cubist constructions—wives, mistresses, legitimate and illegitimate children (his youngest born 28 years after his oldest), and grandchildren—all strung on an axis like the backbone of a figure with unmatched parts.”

Today, the market for Picasso’s art is strong and getting stronger, with the emergence of collectors from China, Indonesia, the Middle East, and Russia. Most prefer the late work, from the 1950s and 1960s. The Russians have a thing for Picasso’s Blue and Rose Periods. “If Picasso were alive today,” Marc Blondeau, a prominent Geneva dealer and former head of Sotheby’s France, told me, “he would be one of the 10 wealthiest men in the world.”

In 1996, Claude Picasso, who had been named legal administrator of Picasso’s estate by a French court, created the Picasso Administration, a Paris-based organization that manages the heirs’ jointly owned interests, controls the rights to Picasso reproductions and exhibitions, issues merchandising licenses for everything from dishes and fountain pens to ties and automobiles, and pursues forgeries, stolen works, and illegal use of Picasso’s name. During his lifetime, Picasso was the world’s most prolific and most photographed artist. In 2016 he is the most reproduced, most widely exhibited, most faked, most stolen, and most pirated artist in the world, one of the hottest commodities in a white-hot art market. “Everyone wants a piece of Picasso,” said Eric Mourlot, a dealer whose father and grandfather printed hundreds of Picasso’s lithographs.

Or, as Claudia Andrieu, the Picasso Administration’s head of legal affairs, told me, “Picasso is everywhere.”
Source: Vanity Fair 

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