AP Interview: Billionaire bids anxious farewell to Picasso

Full Screen
1 / 3

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

In this photo taken on Monday, March 2, 2020, billionaire art dealer David Nahmad poses in front of a colorful work by French-born American artist Arman, in Nahmad's home in Monaco. Nahmad has spent decades accumulating what he believes is now the world's largest private collection of works by Pablo Picasso, but he is about to part with one of them. A still life that Picasso painted in 1921 is being raffled off for charity in Paris this month with tickets at 100 euros each. (AP Photo/John Leicester)

Billionaire art collector David Nahmad can't fully recall why he bought “Nature Morte,” a charmingly simple oil on canvas that Pablo Picasso painted in 1921.

Given that Nahmad owns about 300 of the Spanish genius' works, his forgetfulness is perhaps understandable. With such a princely trove — Nahmad says his Picasso collection is the world's largest in private hands — details sometimes get lost.

“We bought so many Picassos now, I don’t remember the specific reason," Nahmad said in an exclusive and rare interview with The Associated Press in his luxury home in Monaco.

“It’s the smallest painting that I have."

Not for much longer.

A very lucky someone, somewhere, will soon be joining Nahmad in the privileged club of Picasso owners, when “Nature Morte” is raffled off for charity this month.

Tickets, sold online, are 100 euros ($113) each. The winner of a similar raffle in 2013 was a 25-year-old fire sprinkler worker from Pennsylvania.

Nahmad, one of the art world's most influential dealers, will receive 1 million euros ($1.1 million) for “Nature Morte" but says it is worth “at least two, three times” that.