An Italian accountant whose son bought her the raffle ticket as a Christmas present won a Pablo Picasso oil painting valued at 1 million euros ($1.1 million) in a charity draw Wednesday.
Claudia Borgogno summed up her amazement in one word: “Incredible.”
“I have never won anything before,” the 58-year-old told The Associated Press from her home in Ventimiglia, northern Italy. She said she likes Picasso, and the prospect of being able to hang one of the 20th Century master’s paintings on her wall was still sinking in.
Her son, Lorenzo Naso, bought two tickets in December, sending one to his mother.
“It was maybe the best decision in my life,” he told The AP.
The ticket was picked out in an electronic draw at the auction house Christie’s in Paris.
Organizers valued the painting, Nature Morte, or Still Life, as being worth 1 million euros. The billionaire art collector who provided it, David Nahmad, said the work is worth “at least two, three times” that.
“Claudia has won this extraordinary painting tonight that is worth one million and so is a millionaire,” organizer Peri Cochin announced after Borgogno’s name and winning ticket number were displayed on a screen.
The 51,140 tickets sold online for 100 euros ($109) each. Proceeds are going to provide water for villagers in Madagascar and Cameroon.
The draw was originally scheduled for March but delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. Naso told The AP that he hadn’t realized it was taking place Wednesday and wasn’t watching the live broadcast.
The call from organizers to say that his mother had won came as shock.
She didn’t believe it.
A cameraman, wearing a protective face mask, stands in front of the painting “Nature Morte, 1921” by Spanish painter Pablo Picasso before the charity raffle official draw to designate the winner of the Picasso oil painting for 100 euros at Christie’s auction house in Paris, May 20, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
“When I arrived and I told her she has won she was like, ‘Please don’t joke,’” he said. “She is not going to sleep tonight.”
Naso, an analyst for the European Union’s securities markets regulator, lives in Paris but has been staying with his mother in Italy during the coronavirus lockdown.
“It was a pretty awful period for us during this lockdown and now it’s great news,” he said.
Nahmad will be paid 900,000 euros for the work. The painting was the smallest of 300 works by Picasso that he owns, the largest private collection of works by the Spanish artist.
The small still life measuring 9in by 18in (23cm by 46cm), which is signed Picasso, shows a newspaper and a glass of absinthe on a wood table. Picasso painted it in 1921.
Tickets were bought in more than 100 countries, with the bulk sold in France, the United States, Switzerland and Italy.
The 1 Picasso for 100 euros project organised by French charity house Aider les Autres (Help the Others) aims to raise funds for various humanitarian projects.
The winner of a similar raffle in 2013 was a 25-year-old fire sprinkler worker from Pennsylvania who took home Picasso’s 1914 work L’Homme au Gibus (Man With Opera Hat), valued at more than $1 million.
— with inputs from Associated Press