Art/Design, News & Events

A restaurant is auctioning off 11 Picasso pieces

A little unexpected but we’re not complaining.

words by: Sahar Khraibani
Oct 19, 2021

We never thought we’d see the day when Picassos are being auctioned off in random locations outside of auction houses, let alone a restaurant. But, MGM Resorts in Las Vegas is apparently partnering up with auction experts at Sotheby’s to sell off 11 of its Pablo Picasso works later this month. The auction will take place live in Vegas on Saturday, October 23, to commemorate the artist’s 140th birthday. Many of the available pieces were formerly displayed in the Bellagio’s aptly named Picasso restaurant, which serves regional cuisines from Spain and France.


A large number of people have been wondering why the hotel is getting rid of the artwork, a move that seems counter-intuitive to most. It seems that the hotel is trying to focus on diversity and inclusiveness while building up their art portfolio anew. This makes sense in our day and age, where most art galleries and venues are realizing the cons of not having a diverse showcasing of art.


MGM’s chief hospitality officer Ari Kastrati said: “We attract millions of people from around the world annually throughout our properties, offering us a fantastic platform for displaying varied perspectives within the art community.” Making this move to auction off the Picasso both an opportunity to spread out the work so that others can enjoy it, as well as an attempt to carve out space for different voices and perspectives. Kastrati continued to explain: “While diversity has long been in MGM Resorts’ DNA, we are committed to creating an even more inclusive collection that maintains the breadth of our existing portfolio while giving a greater voice to artists from under-represented communities.”


The pieces have been moving across the world in the lead-up to the auction, stopping first in New York, Taipei and Hong Kong. They’ll be on view in Las Vegas from October 21 to 23, at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. All of the exhibitions are free and open to the public.


Picasso’s Femme au béret rouge-orange, a portrait of his muse Marie-hérèse Walter, is the star of all 11 works and is a much-coveted piece from the artist’s collection. This specific artwork is expected to go for anywhere between $20 and $30 million. But don’t be discouraged, because the least expensive item is one of his ceramic pitchers and is supposedly estimated at $60,000–$80,000. We know we may not be able to afford even the least expensive of all, but if we’re looking at the silver lining, at least most of us will be able to see these pieces on display before they’re scooped up.


Photo via Sotheby’s