In 2015, Pablo Picasso’s Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’) set the artist’s auction record when it sold for a whopping $179.3 million at Christie’s. But, what if you could snag a Picasso for €100 ($110 or £85)? A French nonprofit called Aider les Autres is giving ticket holders that exact opportunity through a raffle.
The artwork at stake is Nature Morte (1921), a still life by Picasso that features a newspaper and glass of absinthe in a synthetic cubist style. The painting is valued at €1 million but for one lucky person, the work will be there for a fraction of that price and they’ll help out others in the process. The proceeds from the raffle, called ‘1 Picasso for 100 Euros,’ will be put to good use by the charity to provide access to clean water in Cameroon, Madagascar, and Morocco.
Unsurprisingly, the raffle has been popular so far. It was originally intended to end on January 6th but was extended through March 30th to allow more people to snap up tickets. Picasso’s son, Claude, commented on the raffle in a statement saying: ‘I was really touched by the public’s enthusiasm for this initiative. A way for our family to continue Picasso’s own commitment to poorer populations and, in addition, offer more people the opportunity to discover his work.’
The painting was once part of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s collection and until it is raffled off at the end of March, it belongs to David Nahmad. Nature Morte is one of 300 works by Picasso that Nahmad has in his collection with his brother, Ezra. The work by Picasso is currently on view at the Musée Picasso in Paris while raffle tickets continue to be sold.
In 2013, a similar raffle was held for Picasso’s 1914 L’Homme au Gibus to benefit Phoenician, an ancient city in Tyre and UNESCO world heritage site. The funds raised were used to help protect the city as the area around it grew and to restore damage caused during Lebanon’s civil war in the 1970s and 1980s. The winner of L’Homme au Gibus was a 25-year-old Pennsylvania project major who bought their ticket for €100. A raffle-like approach was used in 2018 by Choose Love, a charity that supports refugees, at their pop-up shop in London. In that instance, people and were asked to guess the weight of the sculpture by Banksy that featured a lifeboat full of children. Each guess cost only £2 and if you guessed the weight accurately, you won the artwork. In the end, a raffle generates excitement over an artwork and gives many a chance to throw their hat in the ring while donating to charity.