In Ibiza, customs officers confiscated a Picasso sketch from a tourist. It costs more than $460,000

Anhelina Sheremet

Authorities in Ibiza confiscated a Pablo Picasso sketch worth more than $460,000 — the traveler did not declare it at airport customs.

This is stated in the statement of the Tax Agency of Spain.

The passenger arrived on the Spanish island on a flight from Switzerland. Spanish authorities said Swiss colleagues had alerted them to a passenger "carrying a work of art in circumstances deemed suspicious". When the man tried to go through the green lane at Ibiza airport, showing that he had nothing to declare upon arrival, customs officials searched his luggage and discovered the drawing.

At first, the man claimed the painting was just a copy and produced a handwritten receipt for $1 534. But a deeper search revealed a second invoice issued by the Zurich Art Gallery, which indicated the sale of a 1966 Picasso work titled “Trois personnages” for $461 thousand.

The smuggling attempt took place in early July, and an official statement on the matter was made public only after preliminary analysis showed that the sketch was a genuine work by Picasso. Thus, an initial check by the Ibiza Museum of Modern Art found the artwork to be an original Picasso, with a market value "corresponding" to the amount shown on the galleryʼs invoice. Art experts will further analyze the “Trois personnages” as part of the investigation.

Goods imported into Spain from outside the European Union, including Switzerland, are subject to customs duties and VAT. The tax office said that since the value of the sketch exceeds €150,000, the incident is being treated as a smuggling attempt.