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Woman wins $1.1-million Picasso painting in raffle

Raffle organizers Peri Cochin, left, and Arabenne Reille unbox the painting "Nature Morte" (Still Life) by Picasso, which was won in the charity draw by an Italian accountant.
(Francois Mori / Associated Press)

An Italian accountant whose son bought her a charity raffle ticket as a Christmas present has won a Pablo Picasso oil painting valued at $1.1 million.

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

“I have never won anything before,” the 58-year-old said from her home in Ventimiglia, in 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 in December, sending one to his mother.

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“It was maybe the best decision in my life,” he told the Associated Press.

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

A previously unknown portrait has been discovered hidden beneath an early painting by Pablo Picasso -- and now experts are trying to figure out who the mysterious figure is.

Organizers valued the painting, “Nature Morte,” or Still Life, at $1.1 million. The billionaire art collector who provided it, David Nahmad, said the work is worth “at least two, three times” that.

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The small still life, which is signed “Picasso,” shows a newspaper and a glass of absinthe on a wood table. Picasso painted it in 1921.

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

The 51,140 tickets sold online for 100 euros ($109) each. Proceeds are going to provide water for villagers in Madagascar and Cameroon.

The definition depends on whom you ask, as Gov. Gavin Newsom says some attractions in certain counties can reopen. L.A. County says not here.

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

The call from organizers 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.”

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Naso, an analyst for the European Union’s 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 900,000 euros (about $1 million) 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.

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Tickets were bought in more than 100 countries, with the bulk sold in France, the United States, Switzerland and Italy.

The winner of a similar raffle in 2013 was a 25-year-old fire sprinkler worker from Pennsylvania.


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