Pablo Picasso's "Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe"
Not interested in slots and card games? There’s still plenty of majesty and awe around the Strip, incuding a recent Sotheby's auction at the Bellagio, courtesy MGM Resorts, that saw 11 pieces by cubist master Pablo Picasso sell for a total of $109 million.
The milestone auction was part of a special white-glove event that exceeded expectations. Every single Picasso left the building with a new owner.
“When we announced this unique collaboration with MGM Resorts a few months ago, there was an immediate buzz,” Sotheby’s chairman Brooke Lampley says. “Tonight’s tremendous results only underscore the singular nature of this event, and the importance of creating bespoke experiences that cater to furthering our commitment to existing clients, as well as opening doors for a whole new audience to engage with Sotheby’s. With such a gracious partner like MGM Resorts and a star artist like Picasso, it was an incredible experience to bring our signature Evening Sale experience on the road—and we look forward to exploring and experimenting with new ways to share the magic of a Sotheby’s Evening Sale.”
Pablo Picasso's "Femme au beret rouge orange"
This event was notable for Las Vegas in terms of fine art auctions, and it marked Sotheby’s first in-person auction outside of its famous New York showroom, but it was not the only event held between the two groups this weekend. The following day, Sotheby’s “Icons of Excellence and Haute Luxury” auction made its own headlines with the sale of a 1984 pair of basketball sneakers worn by Michael Jordan for more than $1 million.
“We are grateful to our partners at Sotheby’s for a successful collaboration and a tremendous event weekend,” says MGM’s Chief Hospitality Officer Ari Kastrati. “From the receptions to the special programs to the auction itself, together we delivered a weekend program that could only happen in Las Vegas and only at MGM Resorts properties.”
Pablo Picasso's "Homme et enfant"
While all 11 of the Picasso paintings sold are classics, a few walked away with more buzz. The piece “femme au béret rouge-orange” walked away with the highest price tag. The portrait of Picasso’s longtime muse and lover Marie-Thérèse Walter was fought over in a lengthy bidding battle before selling for for a whopping $40.5 million.
#AuctionUpdate Closing out tonight’s sale, Femme au béret rouge-orange sells for $40.5 million. Painted in January 1938, the portrait of his beloved muse Marie-Thérèse Walter stands as a crowning achievement amid one of Picasso’s most inspired and productive periods #SothebysxMGM pic.twitter.com/v4sCY19pDE— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) October 24, 2021
One of Picasso’s famous still lifes, “Nature morte au panier de fruits et aux fleurs,” also earned attention, selling for $16.6 million. The two-meters tall spectacle “homme et enfant” sold for $24.4 million, and a few ceramics painted by the cubist were also sold, all exceeding their estimated ranges.
#AuctionUpdate Nature morte au panier de fruits et aux fleurs from 1942 brings $16.6 million. Despite the destruction and hardship of World War II, the years between 1940-44 resulted in one of Picasso’s richest periods of still life painting #SothebysxMGM pic.twitter.com/THzgh2r9jS— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) October 24, 2021
The paintings came from the private ownership of MGM, who had previously displayed them in their renowned Picasso restaurant at the Bellagio resort. Despite the painting’s high worth and spectacle, MGM decided to sell the works as a commitment to diversifying their public art portfolio, focusing instead on inclusion and new works. It’s unsure what this commitment might entail, but $109 million can certainly buy plenty of different works as the company steps into this new future.
Sotheby’s meanwhile announced a new digital market for NFTs just two weeks ago, as the auction house continues to seek new horizons in the current marketplace. With one of the most successful auctions in the city’s history, it’s almost certain the chairmen do not want what happened in Vegas to stay in Vegas.
See more images of the Picasso pieces below and learn more at Sothebys.com.
Pablo Picasso's "Buste d'homme"
Pablo Picasso's "La Fenetre de l'atelier La Californie"