US man wins raffle for $1m Picasso
- 19 December 2013
- From the section US & Canada
A $1m (£610,000) painting by Pablo Picasso has been won by a US man who paid just 100 euros (£83) for a ticket in an online charity raffle.
Jeffrey Gonano, 25, said he was looking for a picture to hang on his wall when he read an article about the painting being raffled by Sotheby's in Paris.
L'Homme au Gibus (Man with Opera Hat) had been bought by a charity working to save the ancient Lebanese city of Tyre.
The charity issued 50,000 tickets at 100 euros each, hoping to raise $5m.
Mr Gonano's winning ticket was picked by a computer system on Wednesday.
"I was looking for art and I thought I might as well," said Mr Gonano, a project manager at a fire sprinkler firm in Pennsylvania.
Despite the enormous value of his new acquisition, he says he will not sell the artwork, at least for the time being.
Organisers said buyers from all over the world had taken part in the raffle, with a large number from the US.
The 1914 artwork had been bought from a New York gallery by the Unesco-registered charity the International Association to Save Tyre with the help of a large bank loan.
Raffle organisers say they paid slightly less for the work than the $1m estimate given by Sotheby's experts.
Picasso's grandson, Olivier Picasso, was among those drumming up interest in the tickets.
He said his grandfather would have approved of his work being put to good use.
"My grandfather was a pioneer in everything, in his love life, in his artwork, so tonight I'm sure he would have helped the cause," he said.