Pablo Picasso: eleven masterpieces sell for £80 million at Las Vegas Bellagio hotel auction

The Las Vegas auction, hosted by Sotheby’s, exceeded its high guide price by some 10 million dollars

Spanish painter Pablo Picasso in Mougins, France, in 1971 (image: Ralph Gatti/AFP via Getty Images)Spanish painter Pablo Picasso in Mougins, France, in 1971 (image: Ralph Gatti/AFP via Getty Images)
Spanish painter Pablo Picasso in Mougins, France, in 1971 (image: Ralph Gatti/AFP via Getty Images)

Eleven Pablo Picasso artworks have sold at auction for nearly 110 million US dollars (£80 million) after spending years on display at a Las Vegas hotel.

The Sotheby’s auction took place at the MGM Resorts-owned Bellagio hotel and casino, where the pieces featured in its Picasso restaurant.

‘Special auction’

Brooke Lampley, Sotheby’s chairman and worldwide head of sales for global fine art, said: “When we announced this unique collaboration with MGM Resorts a few months ago, there was an immediate buzz about this special auction.”

The company said Saturday’s sale, which exceeded its high estimate with all of the works sold, would help it improve the diversity of its fine art collection.

The highest price was fetched by the 1938 portrait Femme Au Beret Rouge-Orange, which depicts Picasso’s muse and lover Marie-Therese Walter, which sold for 40.5 million dollars (£29 million) following what auctioneers described as a “prolonged bidding battle”.

The two-metre tall Homme Et Enfant sold for 24.4 million dollars (£17 million). The 1959 piece is regarded as an important example of Picasso’s late career work.

Nine paintings and two ceramics

Included in the sale were nine paintings and two ceramic pieces by the Spanish artist, who died in 1973, spanning some six decades, including Nature Morte Au Panier De Fruits Et Aux Fleurs from 1942 and Le Dejeuner Sur L’herbe from 1962.

The Bellagio ballroom featured a recreated version of the Sotheby’s auction room for the sale, which was hosted by the house’s chairman and auctioneer Oliver Barker.

The MGM Resorts collection was started more than 20 years ago by US property developer and casino mogul Steve Wynn, former owner of the Bellagio.

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