WEXFORD, PENNSYLVANIA – A man looking for art for his new home has won a $1 million Picasso painting with a €100 ($138) raffle ticket.
Jeffrey Gonano told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review he is not sure he will ever hang the masterpiece in his home in Wexford, in western Pennsylvania, given its value.
The 25-year-old Gonano, who works for his family’s fire sprinkler business, learned last week that his ticket had won the Paris raffle. Organizers say nearly 50,000 tickets were sold worldwide, for €100 apiece, to benefit a Lebanese charity.
The 1914 work, “Man in the Opera Hat,” dates from Spanish master Pablo Picasso’s cubist period. Picasso died in 1973.
Gonano said 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 newspaper. “It all depends. I don’t know what the taxes are or anything.”
Gonano’s 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 Spataro, of Pittsburgh. “He said, ‘This will be my only chance to actually own something like this.'”
The raffle raised about $3.5 million for the International Association for the Safeguard of Tyr, a UNESCO heritage site, said Reem Chalabi, an education coordinator with the group.
Gonano and 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 afterward, that would look pretty insignificant compared to a Picasso.”