Monday, December 06, 2010

Fortean / Oddball News: Picasso Discovery, Drunk Killer Elephants and Hollywood Conspiracy

271 Unknown Picasso's Discovered

telegraph - The retired French electrician who claims Pablo Picasso gave him 271 works of art has told how he travelled six hours across France by train with the canvases and sketches worth at least £50 million stashed in an unlocked suitcase.

Pierre Le Guennec said he kept the vast treasure trove of previously unknown works stored in his garage for almost 40 years before he finally decided to take them to the artist's administrators in Paris to have them authenticated.

The 71-year-old pensioner shocked the art world last week when he revealed Picasso and his wife Jacqueline regularly offered him paintings while he was installing alarm systems and carrying out daily electrical repairs at the artist's south of France homes in the three years until his death in 1973.

He said on one occasion Picasso's wife handed him a cardboard box crammed with sketches and said simply, "Here, this is for you."

But within days of art experts proving the works were genuine, police swooped on Le Guennec and his wife at their home in Mouans Sartoux, near Cannes, in October and arrested them on suspicion of receiving stolen goods.

Police held them both in custody for 24 hours before releasing them without charge, and said an investigation was now under way to establish exactly how the elderly couple came by the paintings.

At his modest, whitewashed villa in the south of France, Mr Le Guennec continued to insist this weekend that he had not stolen the artworks from his former employer.

He said: "I worked for Monsieur and Madame from 1970 to 1973, and for Madame for another three years until 1976 after Monsieur died.

"They both gave me paintings, and on one occasion she gave me a box containing lots of sketches and canvases, perhaps 100 of them, saying 'Here, this is for you.'

"Perhaps they were happy with my work as their electrician and wanted to show their kindness. I don't know.

"I didn't steal them, and am horrified that people think I could of done.

"I didn't really think about what they might be worth. I just put them in a box in the garage and that's where they sat.

"It was only when we were sorting through our things in the summer that I looked through them and thought I'd take them to the Picasso people in Paris and let them know I had them.

"I didn't want my sons arguing over the inheritance and because Picasso was a famous artist I thought they would be better off with his family."

Mr Le Guennec's wife Jacqueline added: "We never intended to sell them, and we wouldn't be living in a house like this if we had intended to make money from these paintings."

The couple's lawyer Evelyne Rees said: "The police thought about charging them with harbouring stolen goods, but they have not done so, because clearly to harbour stolen goods means something must have been stolen. And nothing has been stolen."

Christine Pinault, spokeswoman for Picasso's son Claude, told of the "astonishment" at the Picasso Foundation offices in Paris when Le Guennec arrived with the haul of artworks in a suitcase.

She said: "He made an appointment to come and see us and arrived on September 9 with an unlocked suitcase full of paintings and sketches. We could hardly believe he had simply got on a train with something so valuable.

"He first claimed it was Picasso himself that had given them to him, but he didn't seem to be describe a single occasion when a painting was handed to him.

"When we asked him why he thought Picasso had been so generous, he told us simply that the artist must have thought he deserved them for all his hard work."

Picasso's son Claude and five other relatives of the Spanish-born artist have dismissed Le Guennec's claim that he could have received the paintings as gifts.

Claude Picasso insisted his father would "never" have given such a large quantity of works to anyone.

He told French daily Liberation: "That doesn't stand up. These works were part of his life."

Picasso family lawyer Jean-Jacques Neuer added: "Claude Picasso was astounded. He couldn't believe his eyes.

"Just about everybody has felt that way. When you have 271 Picasso works that were never seen, never inventoried, that's just unprecedented.

"The most important thing is rediscovering important artworks for the good of art history as a whole."

A spokesman for France's Central Office for the Fight against Traffic in Cultural Goods, part of the Interior Ministry, confirmed the paintings had now been seized and were being held in a secure location.

A source told Liberation newspaper: "One mystery among many in this affair is why Mr Le Guennec kept these artworks hidden for such a long time and has only come forward now.

"The works have all been preserved in good condition. They range from notebooks to drawings and completed paintings, including nine cubist paintings which alone are worth some 40 million euros according to experts."

The newly discovered Picassos include a watercolour from his Blue Period, and experts believe nine cubist works in Mr Le Guennec's possession are worth £33 million alone.

Also in the collection are portraits of his first wife Olga, as well as a number of gouaches and lithographs, Liberation reported.


Texas Ghost Girl?

From Unknown Country - This photo was sent to us by an reader. It was taken along a trail at night in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. It shows what appears to be a semi-translucent child standing near a deer, which has apparently noticed the child. The child is wearing clothing from an earlier period. Is this an image of a ghost, a simple double-exposure or...what?

NOTE: Another cell phone application? What do you think? Lon


Randy Quaid Reveals 'Hollywood Conspiracy'

They’re spending nights in their car, on the run from the same shadowy cabal—“the Hollywood Star Whackers”—who may have killed Heath Ledger, possibly sabotaged Jeremy Piven, and could now be targeting Lindsay Lohan. No, this is not the plot of Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Randy Quaid’s latest movie. It is what he and his wife, Evi, swear is really happening to them. With the Quaids in Canada, the author probes their nightmare reality, which has alienated friends and family, and turned the couple into outlaws.

Evi Quaid called from a pay phone in Vancouver to say that she and her husband, Randy, the actor, had tried to drive to Siberia, but they “couldn’t figure out how to get there.” She said, “We’re running for our lives.” She wanted me to meet them the next day in Vancouver’s Chinatown—which couldn’t be arranged any other way, as the Quaids don’t use cell phones anymore, because, Evi said, “they’re tracking us.”

“They” were “the Hollywood Star Whackers” the couple had been talking about in television interviews ever since they arrived in Canada in October, seeking asylum. The “Whackers,” they said, were the same people who may have “killed” David Carradine and Heath Ledger, possibly set up Robert Blake, and could now be targeting Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan. “Are either of you mentally unstable, schizophrenic, or on drugs?,” Andrea Canning asked on Good Morning America. “Do you think we are?” demanded Evi. “No!” said Randy. Continue reading at The Quaid Conspiracy


Elephants on Drunken Rampage Kill Three People

guardian - Binge-drinking elephants, drunk on local hooch, have killed three people and destroyed 60 homes in a four-day rampage in east India.

Yesterday they were reported by local officials to be sleeping off hangovers as shocked communities tried to clear the wreckage left by the 70-strong herd in remote villages on the borders of the states of Orissa and West Bengal.

With a local festival approaching, villagers had stockpiled the fermented-rice based drink which is stored in earthenware vessels and, according to Bijay Kumar Panda, a local administrator, the elephants found and drank it.

They then staggered through the surrounding area and began "to fall asleep hither and thither, throwing life completely haywire".

According to the Pioneer newspaper, the "jumbos" are known "for their love of local country-made brews" which they "gulp down and make merry at the expense of the villagers".

Elephant experts say such incidents are becoming more common. With pristine forest increasingly rare, especially in the area where this latest incident occurred, Indian elephants no longer avoid contact with humans, said Dr Amirtharaj Williams, Asian rhino and elephant programme co-ordinator for the World Wildlife Fund. "These herds are effectively semi-urbanised. There are elephants who are getting a taste for food that humans prepare because it is tastier, stronger-smelling and often more nutritious and that includes rice- or molasses-based drinks. Some go looking for it."

Around 400 people are killed each year by elephants in India and nearly a million hectares of farmland damaged.

Around 100 elephants are killed by villagers each year.

India's booming population and economic growth have placed the historic grazing lands of elephants under enormous pressure. To avoid exhausting fodder in one area, the herds migrate. Attempts to create safe corridors for the animals' travel have foundered on bureaucratic sloth and lack of enforcement.

In September seven elephants were killed by a speeding goods train.

Latest estimates put India's elephant population at around 21,000 – the largest in Asia. About half of these are found in north-eastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya.


Bad Robot's Mystery Monster Leaked...

aullidos - So, the gang at Aullidos landed a "leaked" piece of conceptual art that's supposedly connected to an upcoming Paramount film, furthermore, a Bad Robot production. Speculation can run wild with this one as Bad Robot has a handful of cool projects in various stages of development. Is it something for Cloverfield 2? Or perhaps the alien at the center of Super 8? Or maybe it's not connect to either of those films at all and it's just something really cool and something early that snuck out into the public? OR it could be the product of a conceptual artist trying to get a studio's attention...

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