She Got a Raffle Ticket as a Gift, Now Owns a Picasso

Italian woman wins $1.1M painting in charity raffle
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2020 10:15 AM CDT
She Got a Raffle Ticket as a Gift, Now Owns a Picasso
Raffle organizers Peri Cochin, left, and Arabenne Reille put the painting "Nature Morte" by Picasso in its frame at Christie's auction house in Paris on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

An Italian woman is the new owner of a century-old painting by Pablo Picasso, worth $1.1 million—but she didn't buy it. The unidentified woman won 1921's "Nature Morte"—a small oil painting depicting a glass of absinthe and a newspaper on a table—in a charity raffle held at Christie's in Paris, reports the BBC. Some 51,000 tickets were sold for the equivalent of $110 each, raising $5.6 million for the global humanitarian group CARE. The organization will pay $985,000 to the painting's previous owner, billionaire collector David Nahmad of Monaco, who also donated $110,000 to the cause. The remaining money will be used to build plumbing infrastructure in schools and villages in Cameroon, Madagascar, and Morocco.

"Picasso would have loved an operation like this, because he was someone with a lot of interest in humanitarian and social causes," raffle organizer Peri Cochin tells Reuters. She adds that the charity project is especially urgent now: "This coronavirus crisis has made it clear how important it is to wash your hands, and that can only be done with clear water." The woman who won the painting received her raffle ticket as a gift, per Reuters. France had the highest number of tickets sold—about 15,000—followed by the US and Switzerland. A 25-year-old American man won Picasso's 1914 painting "Man With Opera Hat" in another charity drawing in 2013. Organizers now hope to make the raffle an annual event. (Read more Pablo Picasso stories.)

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