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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Marina Picasso not just full of hot heir

Pablo Picasso is one of the world’s most beloved and renowned artists. His works are featured in museums worldwide, and his art reflects stylistic changes amidst significant political strife. His collected works, upwards of 50,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings and other manifestations of his genius, are strewn across the world, but the largest portion of them reside with his heirs. One in particular — Marina Picasso — has decided to sell hers to benefit her charities.

This move, while worrisome to esteemed art dealers concerned about overwhelming and saturating the market for Pablo Picasso works, is healthy for Marina Picasso and the international charities she contributes to.

Marina Picasso, daughter of Pablo Picasso’s son Paulo, inherited both Pablo Picasso’s villa, La Californie, and upwards of 10,000 pieces of his artwork. In an interview with The New York Times, Marina Picasso enumerated her reasons for selling off the collection: to support her family and her philanthropic efforts and to distance herself from the toxic and loveless memory of her grandfather.

On supporting her projects, most notably teenage psychiatric units, geriatric health centers and orphanages in Vietnam, from which she has adopted three of her five children, she told The New York Times, “I have paintings, of course, that I can use to support these projects.”

She picked a good time to sell, as Picassos only fall behind Andy Warhol’s works in terms of earning potential on the open market. That’s $449 million in a $16.1 billion international market for art, according to New York-based Artnet.

Marina Picasso did not grow up with the wealth and luxury that her name could have entitled her to; her father’s estrangement from her grandmother and her mother’s alcoholism cut them off from any wealth. This life, made worse when her older brother, Pablito, was barred from their grandfather’s funeral and later committed suicide, is not one she is eager to hold onto. This is why she is so quick to distance herself from her inheritance, she said.

Super-wealthy heirs are no strangers to distancing themselves from their families’ legacies for one reason or another. Hyatt heiress and now U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker dismantled her family’s empire to assuage money-hungry and upset family members.

What Marina Picasso is doing is less tactical but in the same vein. 

Her most recent donation — a sum of $1.7 million to a nearby hospital — could have been paid for exclusively by the sale of “Femme Assise en Robe Grise” last year for $3.2 million. Many art dealers and auctioneers, who are, incidentally, losing potential commissions, believe that she is going to overwhelm the market, and they consider her desire to sell independently both selfish and disillusioned.

The market is strangely primed for an influx of high-priced art ,according to the art dealers quoted in The New York Times, but it is far harder to sell a painting for millions of dollars than the Internet seems to think.

Essentially, Marina Picasso will just have to hope that she gets a good price without engaging with auctioneers or industry professionals to appraise the works adequately and have them networked to buyers. Undeniably, it is a risk.

In terms of philanthropy, Marina Picasso is inspirational. The woman is funding both elderly care and teenage mental health. According to a New York Times interview, she has been in therapy for the past 15 years due to a toxic family environment and estrangement from her grandfather. Thus, funding mental health care is close to her heart and is incredibly important in this day and age.

Basically, this is a big middle finger to her haters, and it is going to do good for many charities — and, hopefully, other heirs sitting on unused piles of money.

So, you do you, Marina Picasso. Fund orphanages, clean water, scholarships and agriculture subsidies in Vietnam and mental health care in Europe, because the art world wants to buy your paintings, and it is ready and willing.


Nick Havey is a junior studying physiology and Spanish. Follow him on Twitter.

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