Sotheby’s and MGM Resorts are teaming up for a major art auction in Las Vegas that will include 11 original works by Pablo Picasso valued at more than $100 million.
The event will take place October 23 at the Bellagio and mark the largest auction to ever take place in Las Vegas. It will be the first time Sotheby’s has conducted a marquee Evening Sale in North America outside of its New York headquarters.
“It’s an honor to collaborate with Sotheby’s to bring this first-of-its-kind art and entertainment experience to Las Vegas and embark on this momentous auction,” MGM Resorts Chief Hospitality Officer Ari Kastrati said announcing the event.
The artwork comes from the MGM Resorts art collection.
One of the centerpieces of the auction is Femme au béret rouge-orange, a 1938 portrait of Picasso’s muse, Marie-Therese Walter, which art experts believe could go from between $20 million and $30 million. According to artnet, a site that tracks fine art purchases, another painting of Walter sold in May for $103 million.
The other centerpiece, Homme et enfant, is one of the largest paintings Picasso ever created. The 1969 work is also expected to fetch between $20 million and $30 million. A second large painting from that same era, Buste d’homme, is estimated at $10 million to $15 million.
Both are among the last major works from Picasso, the Spanish artist credited with founding the cubist movement, the invention of the constructed sculpture, and the co-creator of collage.
In total, the auction will include 11 paintings, works on paper, and ceramics created between 1917 and 1969.
The works have been on display at the Bellagio off and on since the hotel opened on the Las Vegas Strip in 1998. MGM Resorts officials said now was the right time to put them up for auction.
“We welcome millions of visitors from around the world annually throughout our resorts, giving us a tremendous platform for showcasing diverse perspectives within the art community,” Kastrati said. “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.”
Pre-sale exhibitions of the auction’s full selection will take place at Sotheby’s New York galleries (September 7–13) and at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art (October 21– 23) in Las Vegas. Traveling exhibitions of select highlights are planned for Taipei (September 17–18) and Hong Kong (October 7–11). All exhibitions are complementary and open to the public.
Potential bidders will be able to attend the auction in person at the Bellagio or watch via livestream.
“We cannot wait to work together to bring the magic of a Sotheby’s Evening Sale to Las Vegas for the first time,” said Sotheby’s Chairman Brooke Lampley. “As one of the most famous, beloved, and accomplished artists of all time, we couldn’t imagine anyone better than Picasso to inaugurate this unique art and culture experience.”
In addition to the Picasso auction, a four-day exhibition of luxury property curated by Sotheby’s will be on display at the neighboring Aria Resort and Casino from October 21–24. It will include automobiles, jewelry, handbags, sneakers, and more.