American Jeffrey Gonano has won a $1 million painting by Pablo Picasso after paying just 100 euros for a ticket in an online charity raffle.
Jeffrey Gonano, 25, said he was looking for a picture to hang on his wall when he read an article about the painting being raffled by Sotheby’s in Paris.
L’Homme au Gibus (Man with Opera Hat) had been bought by a charity working to save the ancient Lebanese city of Tyre.
The charity issued 50,000 tickets at 100 euros each, hoping to raise $5 million.
Jeffrey Gonano’s winning ticket was picked by a computer system on Wednesday.
“I was looking for art and I thought I might as well,” said Jeffrey Gonano, a project manager at a fire sprinkler firm in Pennsylvania.
Despite the enormous value of his new acquisition, he says he will not sell the artwork, at least for the time being.
Organizers said buyers from all over the world had taken part in the raffle, with a large number from the US.
The 1914 artwork had been bought from a New York gallery by the UNESCO-registered charity the International Association to Save Tyre with the help of a large bank loan.
Raffle organizers say they paid slightly less for the work than the $1 million estimate given by Sotheby’s experts.
Pablo Picasso’s grandson, Olivier Picasso, was among those drumming up interest in the tickets.
He said his grandfather would have approved of his work being put to good use.
“My grandfather was a pioneer in everything, in his love life, in his artwork, so tonight I’m sure he would have helped the cause,” Olivier Picasso said.
[youtube D10q4RjGPHg 650]