Picasso paintings sell for £80m in Las Vegas auction

Highest price fetched for a single work was £29m

Emily Atkinson
Sunday 24 October 2021 15:03
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<p>Picasso’s Le Dejeuner Sur L’herbe which sold for $2.2 million during Sotheby’s Picasso Masterworks sale.</p>

Picasso’s Le Dejeuner Sur L’herbe which sold for $2.2 million during Sotheby’s Picasso Masterworks sale.

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Eleven Pablo Picasso artworks owned by a Las Vegas hotel have sold at auction for nearly £80m, with one painting selling for £29m alone.

The Sotheby’s auction took place at the Bellagio hotel, which had previously displayed the works in its Picasso restaurant.

The highest price was fetched by the 1938 portrait Femme Au Beret Rouge-Orange, which depicts the Spanish artist’s muse and lover Marie-Therese Walter. The piece sold for $40.5m (£29m) – some $10m (£7.3m) more than expected – following what auctioneers described as a “prolonged bidding battle”.

MGM Resorts, which owns the hotel and casino, said Saturday’s sale would help it improve the diversity of its fine art collection.

Twelve other Picasso paintings and ceramics will continue to be displayed in the hotel’s restaurant.

Picasso's ‘Femme Au Beret Rouge-Orange’

Also sold in the auction was the two-metre tall Homme Et Enfant which went for $24.4 (£17m). The 1959 piece is regarded as an important example of Picasso’s later work.

Picasso's ‘Homme Et Enfant’

Included in the sale were nine paintings and two ceramic pieces by the artist, who died in 1973, spanning some six decades, including Nature Morte Au Panier De Fruits Et Aux Fleurs from 1942 and Le Dejeuner Sur L’herbe from 1962.

Picasso’s ‘Nature morte au panier de fruits et aux fleurs’

The Bellagio ballroom featured a recreated version of the Sotheby’s auction room for the sale, which was hosted by the house’s chair and auctioneer Oliver Barker.

Brooke Lampley, Sotheby’s chair and worldwide head of sales for global fine art, said: “When we announced this unique collaboration with MGM Resorts a few months ago, there was an immediate buzz about this special auction.

“Tonight’s tremendous results only underscore the singular nature of this event, and the importance of creating bespoke experiences that cater to furthering our commitment to existing clients, as well as opening doors for a whole new audience to engage with Sotheby’s.”

The MGM Resorts collection was started more than 20 years ago by US property developer and casino mogul Steve Wynn, former owner of the Bellagio.

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