It’s been an exciting few months for the University of Sydney since an American donor bequeathed a Pablo Picasso painting, Jeune fille endormie, to the school.
On Tuesday the painting was auctioned off at Christie’s in London, fetching $20.6 million, which will be used for a new research centre at the University. The painting sold for more than its pre-sale estimate of $12.31 million, proving that the two-minute bidding war was fierce. It is believed the buyer is British, yet no names have been revealed.
The additional $8 million from the auction is good news for the University, who will use it for research to fight diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. “This is a great result which is transformative for the University and for the health of the nation,” said Vice Chancellor Dr Michael Spence, who was in London for the auction. “The sale of this remarkable work is the result of one donor's extraordinary generosity who said 'this painting is going to change the lives of many people. They were right. We are grateful for their extraordinary generosity and delighted with the outcome of the auction.”
Over 400 staff will be hired for the new research centre, which is aimed at transforming “research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of these conditions, involving everything from metabolic research to the economics of food supply. It will be the only multidisciplinary research centre of its kind bringing together everyone from philosophers to dieticians, from economists to physiologists, all of whom will bring a different perspective to this international problem.”