‘Incredible’: Italian woman wins EUR1M Picasso

PARIS (AP) — An Italian accountant whose son bought her the raffle ticket as a present won a Pablo Picasso oil painting valued at EUR1 million (USD1.1 million) in a charity draw on Wednesday.

Claudia Borgogno summed up her amazement in one word: “Incredible.”

“I have never won anything before,” the 58-year-old told The Associated Press (AP) from her home in Ventimiglia, northern Italy. She said she likes Picasso, and the prospect of being able to hang one of the 20th Century master’s paintings on her wall was still sinking in. Her son, Lorenzo Naso, bought two tickets last December, sending one to his mother. “It was maybe the best decision in my life,” he told The AP.

The ticket was picked out in an electronic draw at the auction house Christie’s in Paris.

Organisers valued the painting, Nature Morte, or Still Life, as being worth EUR1 million. The billionaire art collector who provided it, David Nahmad, said the work is worth “at least two, three times” that.

Raffle organiser Peri Cochin gestures as the name of the winner is displayed on a screen in Paris on May 20. PHOTO: AP

“Claudia has won this extraordinary painting tonight that is worth one million and so is a millionaire,” organiser Peri Cochin announced after Borgogno’s name and winning ticket number were displayed on a screen.

The 51,140 tickets sold online for EUR100 (USD109) each. Proceeds are going to provide water for villagers in Madagascar and Cameroon.

The draw was originally scheduled for March but delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. Naso told The AP that he hadn’t realised it was taking place on Wednesday and wasn’t watching the live broadcast.

The call from organisers to say that his mother had won came as shock. She didn’t believe it.

“When I arrived and I told her she has won she was like, ‘Please don’t joke,’” he said. “She is not going to sleep tonight.”

Naso, an analyst for the European Union’s (EU) securities markets regulator, lives in Paris but has been staying with his mother in Italy during the coronavirus lockdown.

“It was a pretty awful period for us during this lockdown and now it’s great news,” he said.

Nahmad will be paid EUR900,000 for the work. The painting was the smallest of 300 works by Picasso that he owns, the largest private collection of works by the Spanish artist.