The works were bought by the Casino’s previous owner art collector Steve Wynn, who amassed a collection of blue-chip 19th- and 20th-century art which he exhibited at the Bellagio’s art gallery. The art and hotel changed hands when the MGM franchise purchased the resort in 2000.
The entire grouping was backed by Sotheby’s with a guarantee. Three lots—a portrait of Picasso’s early muse Marie-Thérèse Walter, another of a man produced in 1969, and a 1948 still life came to the sale with irrevocable bids.
Sotheby’s veteran auctioneer Oliver Barker took to the rostrum on Saturday to lead the sale, which lasted only 45 minutes. The work which fetched the highest price was the 1938 portrait Femme au Béret Rouge-Orange, which depicts Picasso’s muse Marie-Thérèse Walter which achieved $35 million ($40.5 million with premium).
A large-scale vibrant portrait Homme et Enfant (1969) sold for $24.4 million, Buste d’Homme (1969) went for $9.5 million, below its estimate of $10 million. Nature morte au panier de fruits et aux fleurs (1942), exceeded its $15 million high estimate, selling for $16.6 million.
Saturday’s sale was part of a move on MGM’s part to restructure its public-facing art collection and focus on presenting works by more diverse artists, according to Ari Kastrati, MGM Resorts’ chief hospitality officer. The restaurant will keep 12 other Picasso works on view.