An American looking for art to hang in his new home has won a €734,000 Picasso painting – with a €100 charity raffle ticket.
Now Jeffrey Gonano is not sure he will ever hang the masterpiece in his home in Wexford, western Pennsylvania, given its value.
Mr Gonano, 25, who works for his family’s fire sprinkler business, learned on Wednesday that his ticket had won the Paris online raffle. Organisers say nearly 50,000 tickets were sold worldwide for 100 euros each in aid of a Lebanese charity.
The 1914 work, Man With Opera Hat, dates from Spanish master Pablo Picasso’s cubist period. Picasso died in 1973.
Mr Gonano says he wants to keep the artwork, which features vivid shapes in opaque gouache paint.
“Maybe I’ll lend it to a museum and let them put it on display rather than putting it in a vault, so other people can enjoy it,” he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “It all depends. I don’t know what the taxes are or anything.”
His girlfriend, Gloria Spataro, said he liked the odds in the contest and felt optimistic. Nonetheless, she presumed he was joking when he said he had won.
“He thought the odds were actually pretty good compared to something like a lottery,” said Ms Spataro, of Pittsburgh. “He said, ’This will be my only chance to actually own something like this’.”
The raffle raised about £2 million for the International Association for the Safeguard of Tyr, a UNESCO heritage site.
Mr Gonano and Ms Spataro had recently begun to explore art galleries, and she had bought him a photograph by a Buddhist artist for Christmas.
“I’m glad I actually gave it to him before,” she said, “because if I gave it to him afterwards, that would look pretty insignificant compared to a Picasso.”