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Italian woman wins Picasso painting in French charity raffle

Entertainment

PARIS (Reuters) – An Italian woman on Wednesday won a Pablo Picasso painting worth 1 million euros ($1.1 million) in a French charity raffle that raised money for African water projects.

The winner – who received her lottery ticket as a gift – will acquire the Spanish master’s 1921 oil-on-canvas still life “Nature morte”, a small abstract representing a table, newspapers and a glass of absinth.

The raffle raised 5.1 million euros, of which 900,000 euros will go to Monaco billionaire collector David Nahmad who provided the painting. The rest will be used by charity CARE for clean-water projects in schools and villages in Cameroon, Madagascar and Morocco. Nahmad also gave 100,000 euros to CARE.

“Picasso would have loved an operation like this because he was someone with a lot of interest in humanitarian and social causes,” Peri Cochin, organiser of the sale, told Reuters at the Paris offices of art auction house Christie’s.

She said that more than 51,000 tickets costing 100 euros had been sold in the raffle, which had been delayed by the COVID-19 crisis.

“This coronavirus crisis has made it clear how important it is to wash your hands, and that can only be done with clear water,” Cochin said.

At the first edition of this raffle in 2013, a 25-year-old American won a Picasso drawing titled “The Man in the Opera Hat”. It raised 4.8 million euros for an association working to preserve the ancient city of Tyre, in modern-day Lebanon.

After a six year gap between the first two Picasso raffles, the organisers hope to run an annual edition of the event, to the benefit of a different organisation each year.

The highest price ever fetched by a Picasso artwork was reached in May 2015, when Christie’s sold his 1955 “Les femmes d’Alger” for $179.4 million.

Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau; Writing by Geert De Clercq and Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Alexandra Hudson