Las Vegas is an abstract place, full of abstract sins. Be it the gambling away of abstract life savings, the drunken commitment to abstract marriages, or the abstract sense of time as you finish your ninth vodka soda at the bar. Fittingly, Las Vegas will be the scene of one of the largest Picasso collections to hit the market at one time, with around US$100 million (AU$136 million) of the famous abstract artist to go under the hammer.
The artworks are currently owned by the MGM Resorts, which have teamed up with Sotheby’s for the upcoming sale, and chosen their very own Bellagio (of Ocean’s 11 fame) as the venue. This will be the first time that Sotheby’s has held a major auction in Northern America outside of its own New York location.
The highlight of the sale is set to be Picasso’s Femme au béret rouge-orange, a 1938 painting of the artist’s lover and muse, Marie-Therese Walter. Picasso was 45 when he first saw the 17-year-old in Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris circa 1927. The portrait will be sold with an estimate of between $27 million and $40 million.
Other highlights in the sale are Homme et Enfant, which also has an estimate between $27 million and $40 million, as well as Buste d’Homme, which is expected to sell for between $13.5 million and $20 million. Both works were painted between 1969 and 1970 and were first seen in Picasso’s most important exhibition during his late period, at the Palais des Papes in Avignon.
Also due to hit the block is Picasso’s Nature Morte au Panier de Fruits et aux Fleurs, a Cubist-inspired still life that was painted during the Second World War when the artist was in isolation. It was first shown at the art show known as the “Salon de la Libération”, the first major exhibition for Picasso after the liberation of Paris.
Why is MGM Resorts selling so many Picasso paintings? Well, according to the company’s Chief Hospitality Officer, Ari Kastrati, the funds raised will go towards new and emerging artists. MGM Resorts is looking to create, “an even more inclusive collection that maintains the breadth of our existing portfolio while giving a greater voice to artists from underrepresented communities.”
The auction will be held at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art on October 23rd. You can check out more details of the Las Vegas Picasso sale at Sotheby’s below.