Picasso could be capricious when it came to authenticating his own work.
On one occasion, he refused to sign a canvas he knew he had painted, saying, “I can paint false Picassos just as well as anybody.” On another, he refused to sign an authentic painting, explaining to the woman who had brought it to him, “If I sign it now, I’ll be putting my 1943 signature on a canvas painted in 1922.
These five blood relatives span several generations, were raised in different households, and have frequently been estranged from one another and from Picasso himself.
These include the , or resale rights, as well as reproduction rights —in brief, the right to authorize reproductions of Picasso’s works and to issue merchandizing licenses, while simultaneously monitoring the use of Picasso images and legally prosecuting cases of unauthorized use.According to Adrieu, in recent years the rights have generated approximately €150,000 (2,000) annually, while annual merchandizing revenues have approached €5 million (.4 million).In 1993, however, that committee was disbanded after disputes among the heirs over the authenticity of a set of drawings.Afterward, two of the heirs—Picasso’s daughter Maya Widmaier-Picasso and son Claude Ruiz-Picasso—began issuing certificates of authenticity independent of one another.No, I cannot sign it, madam, I’m sorry.” And on yet another occasion, an irked Picasso angrily covered a work brought to him for authentication with so many signatures that he defaced and effectively ruined it.
Even today, 40 years after Picasso’s death, the question of how his heirs exercise their right under French law to authenticate his work is a knotty one.“I nearly died.” Others close to the Picasso family, however, describe a long-standing state of low-grade tension between Maya and Claude over the issue of authentication, coupled with a long-term effort by Claude to enlist the support of his fellow heirs in consolidating the authentication process under his auspices.In addition, the 77-year-old Maya is said to have scaled back her activity, due to convalescence from a recent fall and other health issues.In an attempt to put an end to their persistent legal conflicts, a French court appointed Claude legal administrator of the estate in 1989.Claude later established the Picasso Administration, the organi- zation that manages, on behalf of the estate, the heirs’ jointly owned interests and intellectual property rights deriving from Picasso’s work, name, and person.Under French law, an artist’s descendants are presumed to have an innate understanding of—or at least a privileged firsthand familiarity with—the art created by their progenitor, and are thus entitled to issue certificates of authenticity.