By Ron Howells • 24 October 2021 • 10:36
Picasso masterpieces sell for almost $110 million at Las Vegas auction. image: Bellagio Hotel
A total of Eleven Picasso masterpieces have been sold for almost $110 million at an auction held in Las Vegas.
Eleven Picasso paintings and other artworks were sold at auction on Saturday, October 23, for more than $100 million at a top-rated hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. The Sotheby’s auction was held at the Bellagio hotel, the works had been on display for years and the sale took place two days before the 140th birthday of the Spanish artist which is on Monday, October 25.
Five of the paintings had previously been hung on the walls of the Bellagio’s fine dining restaurant, Picasso. The restaurant will continue to display 12 other Picasso works.
The highest price was fetched by the 1938 painting “Femme au beret rouge-orange” of Picasso’s lover and muse Marie-Therese Walter, which sold for $40.5 million, some $10 million over the high pre-sale estimate.
The large-scale portraits “Homme et Enfant” and “Buste d’homme” sold for $24.4 million and $9.5 million respectively, while smaller works on ceramic, like “Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe” which sold for $2.1 million, went for three or four times their pre-sale estimate.
None of the buyers’ names were disclosed, some of the bids being carried out by intermediates using mobile phones indicating rich overseas buyers or institutions.
Casino and hotel group MGM Resorts said it intends to further diversify its vast collection to include more art from women, people of colour and emerging nations as well as from LGBTQ artists and artists with disabilities.
American museums and art galleries have been working to broaden their collections in the wake of the widespread cultural reckoning in 2020 over racism at all levels of U.S. society.
A 2019 Public Library of Science study of 18 leading U.S. museums found that 85% of the artists on display are white and 87% are men.
The MGM Resorts Fine Arts Collection boasts about 900 works by 200 artists, including modern pieces by Bob Dylan and David Hockney. It was started more than 20 years ago by Steve Wynn, former owner of the Bellagio and former chief executive of Wynn Resorts.
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Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!.
Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.
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