Picasso paintings regularly sell for millions of dollars, making it unlikely that the majority of art lovers will ever own a work by the famed Spaniard. But a Paris-based nonprofit is offering individuals around the world the chance to acquire a Picasso original for just €100 (around $111)—and contribute to a worthy cause at the same time.
As Caroline Elbaor reports for artnet News, Aider les Autres (French for “Help the Others”) is raffling off tickets for Nature Morte, a 1921 Picasso painting depicting a newspaper and a glass of absinthe. The work, which is on display at the Picasso Museum in Paris, has been valued at €1 million (over $1.1 million), according to the organization. But one lucky winner will be able to clinch the canvas for a mere fraction of that price.
By selling the Picasso at an extremely discounted rate, Aider les Autres hopes to raise a hefty sum for the humanitarian agency Care International. Around 200,000 raffle tickets are available for purchase, meaning the organization will be able to raise up to €20 million (more than $22 million). Some of the funds will be used to buy the painting and cover other costs, but the majority will be donated to the charity.
Care International plans to use the money to build and restore wells, washing facilities and toilets in Cameroon, Madagascar and Morocco. Having easy access to clean water not only reduces the risk of water-borne diseases, but also cuts down on the time that people—and particularly women and girls—have to spend walking to viable water sources.
“Besides the colossal waste of time, [women and girls] are at risk as they walk alone along remote paths and tracks,” Aider les Autres explains. “Girls are also more likely to miss school because of lack of hygiene, especially during their menstruation. By providing clean water, we will increase girls’ attendance by many thousands.”
David Nahmad, a prolific collector of modernist and impressionist art, currently owns Nature Morte; he and his brother Ezra reportedly hold a collective 300 works by Picasso. The painting, according to Elbaor, is an example of the artist’s pioneering work in synthetic cubism. Per Tate Britain, this movement focused on “flattening out the image and sweeping away the last traces of allusion to three-dimensional space.”
Once the winner of the raffle is drawn, Nature Morte’s new owner will receive certificates of authenticity signed by Maya Widmaier-Picasso and Claude Ruiz-Picasso, two of the artist’s children.
The sale of Nature Morte marks the second iteration of “1 Picasso for 100 Euros,” as the charitable initiative is titled. In 2013, Péri Cochin, a French television host and producer, came up with the idea to hold a raffle for L’Homme au Gibus (Man with Opera Hat)—another Picasso work that was valued at €1 million and sold for just €100 to Jeffrey Gonano, a 25-year-old project manager from Pennsylvania. Proceeds from the sale of some 50,000 tickets went toward the preservation of the ancient city of Tyre in Lebanon.
According to Craig Simpson of the Telegraph, organizers now plan on making the raffle an annual event.
Members of the Picasso family have given their blessing to the project. Olivier Picasso, the artist’s grandson, tells Simpson his grandfather was “very concerned about helping people” due to his own experiences with poverty; upon Picasso’s arrival in France, where his career would blossom in the early 20th century, he had to burn his own paintings to stay warm.
“I think he would have been very happy,” says Olivier Picasso of the charity raffle. “I hope he would have been proud.”