Art Market

A Swiss farmer got to hang a Picasso painting in his barn for a day.

Wallace Ludel
Apr 19, 2019 10:06PM, via The Art Newspaper

Pablo Picasso, Buste de femme au chapeau (Dora), 1939. Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel, Sammlung Beyeler. © Succession Picasso / 2019, ProLitteris, Zürich. Photo by Peter Schibli.

A Swiss farmer by the name of Hanspeter Benz won a competition allowing him to hang a small Pablo Picasso masterpiece in his barn for one day. The competition was held by Basel’s Fondation Beyeler—which is currently hosting a major Picasso exhibition—in conjunction with the telecommunications company Swisscom.

Benz hung the 1939 work, Buste de femme au chapeau (Dora), in his barn in Wettingen, Switzerland, near Zürich, earlier this week. There was a small unveiling ceremony attended by Picasso’s granddaughter Diana Widmaier-Picasso.

Contestants entered the competition, judged by a panel of museum representatives along with input from the public, by articulating why they deserved to hang the work for a day and posting it on social media with the cutesy hashtag #myprivatepicasso. In a statement quoted by artnet News, Beyeler’s director said the contest was an effort to encourage members of the public to engage with art, “especially those who may be infrequent museum visitors.”

For security purposes, a “smart frame” was installed around the painting that measured temperature and humidity, provided GPS location, and could sound an alarm should be there any “unauthorized movement.”

Wallace Ludel