Charity offers $1.2m Picasso as raffle prize

By Henry Samuel in Paris

Pablo Picasso drew L'Homme au Gibus, or Man With Opera Hat, in 1914. The artwork is being raffled off to raise money for Tyre, an ancient Phoenician city in Lebanon.
Pablo Picasso drew L'Homme au Gibus, or Man With Opera Hat, in 1914. The artwork is being raffled off to raise money for Tyre, an ancient Phoenician city in Lebanon.

A Picasso valued at US$1 million ($1.2 million) is the prize in an unprecedented online Christmas charity raffle.

The cubist work Man in the Opera Hat was bought by an anonymous donor from a New York gallery and given to a charity working to save the ancient city of Tyre in Lebanon. About 50,000 tickets have been on sale at www.1picasso100euros.com for the December 18 raffle at Sotheby's in Paris.

The Unesco-registered charity hopes to raise 5 million ($8.28 million), with tickets costing 100. All but 10,000 have already been sold.

Olivier Picasso, the painter's grandson, described the work, painted in 1914, as a "masterpiece" in perfect condition and said he fully supported the raffle. "Buy a ticket and enjoy a double pleasure. The first one will be to help a really interesting project and the second one is, hey, maybe to get a Picasso on your wall."

The charity, the International Association to Save Tyre, wants 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. Reem Chalabi, the project coordinator for the charity, said: "Who can get a Picasso usually or a piece of art? Not a lot of people at that value. So we have seen a lot of people buying three and four and five tickets."

- Daily Telegraph UK

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