PARIS: An American ticket-holder in a worldwide online charity raffle on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) walked away with an exquisite $1 million Picasso after paying a mere 100 euros ($135), Sotheby’s said after organising the first-of-its-kind tombola.
The perfectly preserved Cubist artwork had been bought by an anonymous donor from a New York gallery and given to a charity working to save the ancient city of Tyre in southern Lebanon.
The Unesco-registered charity issued 50,000 tickets at 100 euros each for the tombola at Sotheby’s in Paris, hoping to raise $5 million.
The lucky winner in the raffle was 25-year-old Jeffrey Gonano from Pennsylvania, who works for a fire protection company.
The charity wants the money to develop a traditional handicraft village giving young people, women and the disabled jobs in Tyre and to set up an institute for Phoenician studies in Beirut.
Olivier Picasso, Pablo’s grandson, was among those drumming up interest in the 40,000-odd tickets.
“Buy a ticket and enjoy a double pleasure,” said Olivier, whose grandmother Marie-Therese Walter was Picasso’s mistress.