Will you be buying a ticket? Maybe even two?
Ironically, during Frieze – one of the biggest and most expensive weeks for art lovers – some bargains are there to be had. There were Banksys going for $60 a pop, and now you can grab a Picasso for £85 – well, a chance to win a Picasso, that it.
Pablo Picasso's La Liseuse At A Press Preview at Christie's
'L'Homme au Gibus' (Man With Opera Hat) is being put up as a raffle prize to raise money for charity, and the Spanish artist’s grandson - Olivier Picasso – thinks it’s a great idea.
"My grandfather was a pioneer, he was happy to be the first in every kind of situation," he said. "He was a helpful person, very generous, giving money around him during many difficult times." (Sky News)
Here’s how it works: you buy one of the 50,000 raffle tickets at £85 a pop (€100) then sit and wait patiently until December 19th when the draw is made. If you win the painting, you’ll be the owner of something worth around £675k. You can keep it on your wall and insure it, or, insure it, then sell it for loads of money.
French journalist Peri Cochin is leading the charge on the project, and has a personal experience with the charity’s aim: to finance preservation projects in the ancient Phoenician city of Tyre in southern Lebanon. The Unesco World Heritage site was very badly damaged in the Lebanese civil war, and Chochin’s parents – hailing from both Iraq and Lebanon – have a long history of protecting and fundraising for the charity.
"It's a dream. So many people would love to have a Picasso and will never be able to afford it, so it's really a dream that could come true,” she said. "If you win it and you don't want to keep it, of course you can sell it."
Times art critic Rachel Campbell-Johnston believes raffling off pieces of fine art like this is unlikely to become a trend. "It's a gimmick. It's to raise money for a charity," she said.
"We're not going to see Sotheby's and Christie's closing down their modern and contemporary sales while everyone buys raffle tickets. But it's actually not that democratic at £85 a pop. It's not going to place a Picasso in a council estate. I don't know about you, but I'm going to think several times before spending £85 on a ticket."