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    Win a Picasso as a raffle prize

    6:30 AM, Oct 17, 2013   |    comments
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    UK (CBS) -- An original piece of artwork by the great Pablo Picasso worth an estimated $1.1 million could be yours for as little as $135.

    L'Homme au Gibus, or Man With Opera Hat, is being put up as a raffle prize to raise money for charity.

    It is the first time that work by one of the major painters has ever changed hands in such a way.

    Olivier Picasso told Sky News that his grandfather would have loved the idea.

    "My grandfather was a pioneer, he was happy to be the first in every kind of situation," he said.

    "He was a helpful person, very generous, giving money around him during many difficult times."

    Each of the 50,000 raffle tickets costs $135, and the official draw will take place in Paris on December 18 under the supervision of Sotheby's and a court bailiff.

    The money raised by the sale of the raffle tickets will help finance preservation projects in the ancient Phoenician city of Tyre in southern Lebanon, which was badly damaged during the Lebanese civil war. It is now a Unesco World Heritage site.

    The fundraising project is the initiative of Olivier Picasso and French journalist Peri Cochin, whose Iraqi and Lebanese family have long been involved in protecting Tyre.

    She said: "It's a dream. So many people would love to have a Picasso and will never be able to afford it, so it's really a dream that could come true.

    "If you win it and you don't want to keep it, of course you can sell it."

    Some might be concerned to see fine art being paraded as a raffle prize, but Times art critic Rachel Campbell-Johnston believes this is unlikely to become a trend.

    "It's a gimmick. It's to raise money for a charity," she said.

    "We're not going to see Sotheby's and Christie's closing down their modern and contemporary sales while everyone buys raffle tickets.

    "But it's actually not that democratic at £85 ($135) a pop. It's not going to place a Picasso in a council estate. I don't know about you, but I'm going to think several times before spending $135 on a ticket."

    People can enter the competition from all over the world by purchasing a ticket online.

    Man With Opera Hat, a cubist period piece from 1914, goes on display at the 20th century art and design fair PAD London.

    Its authenticity has been attested by Picasso's children Maya Picasso and Claude Ruiz-Picasso.

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