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Picasso's leaving Las Vegas for auction block

Some 11 Picasso paintings and works by the Spanish artist are going up for auction in October as casino and hotel group MGM Resorts seeks to further diversify its vast art collection.

The auction will take place on Oct. 23 in the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas, where the works were on display, MGM Resorts and Sotheby's said on Wednesday.

The sale could fetch some US$100 million and is thought to be the most valuable auction dedicated to Picasso that has ever been held.

"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," Ari Kastrati, chief hospitality officer at MGM Resorts, said in a statement.

The MGM Resorts Fine Arts Collection boasts about 900 works by 200 artists, including modern pieces by the likes of Bob Dylan and David Hockney displayed in its hotels around the world.

The collection was started more than 20 years ago by real estate developer Steve Wynn, former owner of the Bellagio and former chief executive of Wynn Resorts.

The Picasso works up for auction include five paintings, some of which were displayed for years in the Bellagio's fine dining restaurant, Picasso. The restaurant will continue to show an additional 12 Picasso works.

The artist's 1938 painting "Femme au beret rouge-orange" of his lover and muse Marie-Therese Walter is expected to sell for US$20 million to US$30 million.

The large-scale portraits "Homme et Enfant" and "Buste d'homme" have a presale estimate of up to US$30 million and US$15 million respectively.

In the wake of a widespread cultural reckoning in 2020 over racism at all levels of American society, museums and art galleries are working to diversify their collections and appoint more women and people of color to their staff.

A 2019 study published by the Public Library of Science of 18 of the leading U.S. museums found that 85per cent of the artists on display are white and 87per cent are men.

MGM Resorts said its collection was already diverse but that it wanted to showcase even more works by women, LGBTQ artists, people of color and those with disabilities.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Richard Chang)

Source: Reuters

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