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11 Picasso pieces fetch $109 million at Las Vegas auction

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Several pieces of art by Pablo Picasso sold for a combined $109 million dollars at an auction in Las Vegas on what would have been the artist’s 140th birthday on Saturday.

The works included nine paintings and two ceramic pieces spanning from 1917 to 1938 and had previously been on display at the Bellagio Gallery of fine arts for the last 20 years until MGM decided to sell them earlier this year.

Saturday’s auction, which lasted just 45 minutes, was the first hosted by Sotheby’s in North America outside of its New York City location. About 150 people attended.

The most expensive work was the 1938 painting “Femme au béret rouge-orange” [“Woman in a reddish-orange hat”] which is a portrait of Picasso’s muse, Marie-Thérèse Walter.

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The piece fetched $40.5 million dollars following a tense bidding battle, much higher than the $20-30 million expected.

A Sotheby’s art handler prepares the “Femme au beret rouge-orange” painting by Pablo Picasso for display during the Sotheby’s “Picasso: Masterworks From The MGM Resorts Fine Art Collection” auction.
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Sotheby's art handlers prepare “Aiguiere – Visage” a terracotta sculpture by Pablo Picasso for display during the Sotheby's "Picasso: Masterworks From The MGM Resorts Fine Art Collection" auction.
Sotheby’s art handlers prepare “Aiguiere – Visage” a terracotta sculpture by Pablo Picasso for display during the Sotheby’s “Picasso: Masterworks From The MGM Resorts Fine Art Collection” auction.
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The painting was last sold at auction in the 1980s for $900,000 before casino developer Steve Wynn acquired it in 1998. It became MGM Resort’s when the company purchased Wynn’s resort The Mirage.

Other pieces included two Cubist still-lifes Picasso painted during a period of isolation in Paris during WWII, “Nature morte aux fleurs et au compotier” and “Nature morte au panier de fruits et aux fleurs,” selling for $8.3 million and $16.6 million, respectively.

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The sculpture “Tete d’homme barbu” by Pablo Picasso is displayed during the Sotheby's "Picasso: Masterworks From The MGM Resorts Fine Art Collection" auction.
The sculpture “Tete d’homme barbu” by Pablo Picasso is displayed during the Sotheby’s “Picasso: Masterworks From The MGM Resorts Fine Art Collection” auction.
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A monitor shows the final bid of 35,000,000 USD for the "Femme au beret rouge-orange" painting by Pablo Picasso.
A monitor shows the final bid of 35,000,000 USD for the “Femme au beret rouge-orange” painting by Pablo Picasso.
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“Homme et enfant,” a 1959 work that is over six feet tall, sold for $24.4 million.

Picasso, who lived from 1881-1973, is estimated to have painted over 13,000 works during his seven-decade career.

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