One fortunate woman in Italy won a $1.1 million Pablo Picasso painting in a raffle on Wednesday, May 20, without spending a single dime. Claudia Borgogno from Ventimiglia in northern Italy said she received the €100 (~$110) raffle ticket as a gift from her son. She will now have the rare privilege of hanging Picasso’s 1921 still-life “Nature Morte” at her house.
The raffle, announced in December last year, was hosted by the French charity organization Aider les Autres (which translates to “Helping Others”) in partnership with the Picasso Estate. The raffle was scheduled for January of this year but it was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I have never won anything before,” the 58-year-winner told the Associated Press, summing up the experience as “Incredible.” Her son, Lorenzo Naso, bought two raffle tickets in December and gave one to his mother. He told the news agency, “It was maybe the best decision in my life.”
After selling more than 51,000 tickets, the raffle raised €5.1 million (~$5.59 million), according to the organizers. Of that, €900,000 (~$990,000) will go to the painting’s current owner, Monaco-based billionaire collector David Nahmad. The rest will go to the project CARE, which will use the funds to help provide clean drinking water for communities in Cameroon, Madagascar, and Morocco. The nonprofit says it will work to build and rehabilitate wells, washing facilities, and toilets in villages and schools in these countries. Nahmad, who owns a collection of about 300 Picasso works, reportedly donated another €100,000 (~$101,000) to the nonprofit.
Picasso’s “Nature Morte” depicts a newspaper next to a glass of absinthe. It was on view at the Picasso Museum in Paris before the raffle.
This is the second edition of the raffle. In the first edition in 2013, Jeffrey Gonano, a 25-year-old fire-safety official from Pennsylvania, won Picasso’s “L’Homme au Gibus” (“Man with Opera Hat”) (1914). The proceeds from that raffle (totaling €4.8 million, or $5.26 million) went to rebuilding the historic city of Tyre, Lebanon, which has suffered significant damages during Lebanon’s civil war between 1975 and 1990.
If you’re dreaming of a million-dollar Picasso for yourself, you might still have a chance: The organizers said they hope to hold the raffle on an annual basis for a different cause each year.