Picasso works fetch nearly $110m in Las Vegas

214
The Picasso artworks were auctioned at the Bellagio Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip
The Picasso artworks were auctioned at the Bellagio Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip

Eleven Pablo Picasso artworks that have been on display at a Las Vegas hotel for more than two decades have sold at auction for nearly $110m (£80m).

The works, which were owned by MGM Resorts, featured in the Picasso Restaurant at the Bellagio Hotel.

But the company said Saturday’s auction would help it improve the diversity of its fine art collection.

The auction featured nine paintings and two ceramic pieces by the Spanish artist, who died in 1973.

The collection spans more than 50 years of artistic output.

The 1938 painting Woman in a Red-Orange Beret, which features Picasso’s lover and muse Marie-Thérèse Walter, fetched the highest price of the evening at $40.5m.

It had initially been expected to sell for between $20m and $30m.

Femme au béret rouge-orange
Picasso’s Femme au Béret Rouge-Orange features his lover and muse Marie-Thérèse Walter

Another masterpiece – the large-scale portrait entitled Homme et Enfant (Man and Child) – sold for $24.4m.

“At nearly 2m (6.5ft) tall, the 1959 work is a hugely impressive example of Picasso’s achievements during this important stage in his career,” the auction house, Sotheby’s, said.

Large-scale portraits Homme et Enfant (L) and Buste d'homme (R)
Large-scale portraits Homme et Enfant (L) and Buste d’homme (R)

Also included in the sale were Nature Morte au Panier de Fruits et aux Fleurs (Still life with fruit basket and flowers), which was painted by Picasso during the Nazi occupation of Paris in 1942. It sold for $16.6m.

“Despite the destruction and hardship of World War Two, the years between 1940-44 resulted in one of Picasso’s richest periods,” Sotheby’s said.

Nature morte au panier de fruits et aux fleurs
Nature morte au panier de fruits et aux fleurs

The collection was started more than 20 years ago by the American casino mogul Steve Wynn, the former owner of the Bellagio Hotel.

The sale was part of an effort by the hotel to add more works by women, minority artists and those from emerging countries to the collection.

The names of the buyers have not been revealed.

The record for a Picasso is $179.4m, which was paid for his painting The Women of Algiers in 2015.

Most-expensive Picasso paintings sold at auction

The Women of Algiers – $179.4m, 2015
Young Girl with a Flower Basket – $115m, 2018
Nude, Green Leaves and Bust – $106.5m, 2010
Boy with a Pipe – $104m, 2004
Woman Sitting Near a Window (Marie-Therese) – $103.4m, 2021