Photo: "L'homme au Gibus"
A U.S. man paid 100 euros ($140) to enter an online raffle to raise funds for preservation efforts in Tyre, Lebanon, and wound up winning a Picasso drawing valued at $1 million.
The 1914 work “L’homme au Gibus” (“Man with Opera Hat”) was raffled off Wednesday evening among almost 50,000 people who participated in the drawing, and organizers collected some 5 million euros (about $7 million) for the preservation project, the promoter of the initiative, Peri Cochin, told Efe.
The winner of the Picasso was Jeffrey Gonano, 25, an employee at a fire sprinkler firm in Pennsylvania.
Cochin, a French-Lebanese television host and producer, took two years to transform his idea - to buy a Picasso to raffle off and collect funds for the city of Tyre - into a reality.
The drawing was held at the Paris headquarters of Sotheby’s.
Getting to this point was “very difficult,” Cochin said, noting that it took him two years to obtain the necessary official authorization.
Olivier Picasso, the grandson of the Spanish artist, “helped us a lot in the promotion of the operation, because he found that the project was interesting and very innovative, just as his grandfather would have liked” and eventually Picasso’s heirs gave their official authorization to the effort, Cochin said.