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Picasso Raffle, Baby

by Alicia Eler on December 5, 2013

Olivier Picasso speaks about his grandfather's work of art, which is on sale for $135 a ticket. Screengrab via YouTube.

Olivier Picasso speaks about his grandfather’s work of art, which is on sale for $135 a ticket. (screenshot via YouTube)

“I just want a Picasso in my casa, no, my castle,” raps Jay Z in his appropriately titled song “Picasso Baby.” Jay Z’s song most certainly stirs up a desire to own some Picasso art bling, which is becoming increasingly important nowadays for the rich and famous. But is such a thing possible for someone who isn’t a wealthy rapper?

Olivier Picasso, grandson of Pablo Picasso, is organizing an online charity raffle to practically give away “Man in the Opera Hat,” a 1914 painting by his gramps that’s worth about $1 million. For the lean price of €100 (~$135), this painting could be hanging above someone’s living room couch next to that awesome $10 thrift store landscape painting.

Detail of "Man With Opera Hat"

Detail of “Man With Opera Hat”

According to Business Insider, the Picasso painting up for raffle has traveled a long way to get to where it is now. Originally purchased by an anonymous donor from a New York gallery, it was soon passed on to UNESCO-registered International Association to Save Tyre charity. A total of 50,000 tickets were issued; fewer than 10,000 remain available for sale.

The official raffle drawing will take place on December 18 at Sotheby’s in Paris, and aims to raise €5 million, which is roughly five times what this Picasso is worth. And of course, one lucky son-or-lady-of-a-gun will take home the actual Picasso, baby.

Proceeds will go toward rebuilding the historic city of Tyre, Lebanon, an ancient Phoenician city with sites such as the Roman Hippodrome, which appears on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. Tyre has been devastated by nearly two decades of Lebanon’s civil war; money raised through the Picasso painting will either go toward building a traditional handicraft village in Tyre that offers job opportunities for citizens, or setting up a Beirut-based institute dedicated to Phoenician studies.

If that isn’t enough incentive to try and cash in on this masterpiece, consider that the thousands of people who won’t win the actual Picasso will at least be able to say that in a sense they did “bid” on a Picasso without ever stepping foot in an art auction house proper.

This original Picasso painting is now closer in price to the iTunes store downloadable version of Jay Z’s Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film video, which goes for a sweet $1.99. Performance art is officially dead, which means that painting is probably next, again! Start placing your bets.

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