Pablo Picasso, Buste de mousquetaire, 1968. Photo by Harold Cunningham / AFP / Getty Images.
The sale of Pablo Picasso’s Buste de mousquetaire (1968) shows you don’t need to be a millionaire to own a work by one of history’s most famous artists—but you do have to be willing to share. Qoqa, a Swiss bargain commerce site, put Buste de mousquetaire up for sale last December, offering 40,000 shares in the painting at a cost of $51 each. Over the course of just three days, 25,000 people purchased a piece of the artwork through the platform, usually known for selling goods ranging from vacations to drills. Selling the painting by a famous artist was an attempt to make Qoqa “go viral,” Pascal Meyer, company chief and founder, told the South China Morning Post. And it appears Meyer succeed.
Prior to the sale, the bargain website brought in experts to ensure the work’s authenticity and determine its value, ultimately setting the price at 2 million Swiss francs. Meyer refused to tell the SCMP how much Qoqa originally paid for the painting, which fits in with Picasso’s later work and depicts a musketeer through exaggerated white and grey marks. Each buyer has been issued a card that entitles them to see the painting, on view in Geneva until October. Where the artwork goes next will be decided by the thousands of proud new owners.