In the largest fine art auction ever to take place in Las Vegas, Sotheby’s sold off 11 Pablo Picasso works that famously rested on the walls and shelves of Picasso, the French restaurant from Julian Serrano at the Bellagio.
The Bellagio still has as many of Picasso’s works in its possession, so the restaurant’s walls will not have to go without artwork.
The October 23 sale coincided with what would have been the cubist master’s 140th birthday. A custom recreation of Sotheby’s well-known auction room moved into one of the Bellagio’s ballrooms. Pablo Picasso’s great-great-grandson, DJ Florian Picasso, spun tunes at the after-party as cabaret dancers entertained the crowd, according to multiple news outlets.
Ahead of the auction, Sotheby’s estimated the art to fetch around $104 million. The final haul was just short of $110 million. MGM Resorts plans to use the proceeds to create a more diverse art collection, giving a greater voice to artists from under-represented communities, according to Ari Kastrati, MGM Resorts’ chief hospitality officer.
The top-earning piece of the night was a portrait of Picasso’s lover and muse, Marie Thérèse Walter, which experts anticipated to go for $20 million to $30 million. However, the 1938 portrait, known as Femme au béret rouge-orange, sold for $40.5 million. At Picasso restaurant, the work hung above a sideboard.
The record for a Picasso sale is $179.4 million, which former Qatari prime minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani spent on Femmes d’Alger Version O in 2015.