Picasso Sketch Seized in Ibiza Airport

Ibiza authorities seized a Picasso sketch worth more than $460,000 after a traveler failed to declare it to airport customs.

Spain’s Tax Agency and Civil Guard announced the details of the smuggling attempt on Monday after preliminary analysis suggested that the “Trois personnages” sketch from 1966 was a genuine work of Picasso, despite the incident happening in early July.

Spanish authorities said their Swiss counterparts had alerted them about an airline passenger “carrying a work of art in circumstances that the Swiss authorities considered suspicious”. 

When the unnamed male passenger attempted to use the green lane at Ibiza Airport, indicating he had nothing to declare upon arrival, customs officers searched his luggage and found the artwork.

The passenger initially said that the drawing was only a simple copy and presented officials with a handwritten receipt of 1,500 Swiss francs.

However, during an extensive search, officials discovered a second receipt from a Zurich art gallery that listed the sale of a 1966 Trois personnages for about $461,000.

The director of Eivissa Contemporary Art Museum in Ibiza uncovered in an initial inspection that the artwork is an original Picasso with a market value “in line” with the amount stated on the gallery invoice.

Art experts will conduct further analysis of “Trois Personnages” as part of an ongoing investigation.

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