Consortium offers deal to keep Picasso in Thailand
Thailand was considering a deal to keep in the country a picture reputedly drawn by Pablo Picasso as a raw teenager, an art historian claimed.
A Thai consortium that owns the pastel profile of a woman has offered it to the nation for 50 million dollars instead of selling it abroad, Professor Winai Phun-numphon of Bangkok’s Silpakorn University told AFP.
Market experts said the picture sounded similar to Picasso pictures of the era but cast doubts over its value, saying if it proved genuine was likely to reach about 100,000 to 200,000 dollars at auction.
Independent experts have not authenticated it amid scepticism over the claims and Picasso experts contacted by AFP said they had no knowledge of the picture.
The piece has been named “Original Carmen” by its owners who claim it was drawn around 1897 when Picasso was 16. They say it is similar to Picasso’s pencil drawing “Carmen”, on display in Barcelona. Businessman Sittha Tianukrit, a member of the consortium, told AFP earlier this year that the picture was given to Thailand’s King Rama V by Queen Maria Christina of Spain during a royal visit to Spain in 1897, just after its completion.
It was later auctioned and eventually sold to the present group of Thai owners.
Professor Winai said: “I am 1,000 percent confident that the picture was drawn by Picasso as artists could not hide their strokes even if they changed their style. Their strokes are unique.”
“The owners are willing to sell it to the government if they are interested, and will sell it for $50 million.”
Tom Dickson, copyright agent for the Picasso Estate in Australia, said the picture was “not totally out of his oeuvre” and said a picture of its kind would typically sell for 100,000 to 200,000 US dollars.
General Kasemchart Naressenie, a member of Thaksin’s staff, said he had seen the picture. “In my opinion, the picture is very beautiful and it is antique but I can’t confirm whether it was drawn by Picasso,” he said. afp