A collection of Pablo Picasso works sold in an auction recently have raked in a total of $108 million or R1.5 billion.
The artworks had been living a suite life, spending the last 20 years at the lavish MGM Bellagio resort. Five of them were showcased at the casino’s restaurant – aptly named after the Spanish artist himself.
The Picasso works were brought to the Bellagio collection thanks to the American casino mogul Steve Wynn, who was also the former owner of the Bellagio Hotel.
The bidding hosted by Southeby’s took place in a Bellagio ballroom where dinner guests and VIP onlookers could witness the bidding thrills that would see nine paintings and two ceramic pieces by Picasso going once, going twice, and sold. It only took 45 minutes for the works to be snatched up, but considering that the collection spanned more than 50 years of master artistry and the name Picasso, it’s understandable if millions are small change to one.
The top-selling piece was Femme au Beret Rouge-Orange, a portrait of Picasso’s early muse, Marie-Thérèse Walter. The 1939 masterpiece raked in $40.5 million or R596.3 million, and four bidders wrestled for it according to ArtNews.
Setting the Picasso’s to sale was part of an effort by the hotel to add more works by women artists according to the BBC, as well as “minority artists”.