Mystery as generous local gifts priceless Picasso artwork to museum

Who is the mystery benefactor who donated original Picasso to museum? Mystery as generous local gifts priceless artwork ‘to give something back’ to town – with Princess of Wales, Ricky Gervais and Mr Tumble all in the frame

  • Picasso painting left museum staff baffled after it was mysteriously donated
  • Gifted by a local from Reading, Berkshire who wanted to give something back

A museum has been left baffled after a mystery local donated a Picasso painting to them. 

Staff at Reading Museum, where the work is now on display, and the Reading Foundation for Art charity it was donated to have no idea where the piece has come from. 

All they know is that it was gifted by someone from Reading, Berkshire, who wanted to give something back to the town.

The pricey painting, named Still Life with a Watermelon, was made by the famous artist in 1962 and was previously exhibited at the Met museum in New York.

Famous people born in the town include the Princess of Wales Kate Middleton, comic Ricky Gervais and CBeebies favourite Mr Tumble aka Justin Fletcher.

Mystery surrounds which local gave a Picasso piece to a museum in Reading

Staff at Reading Museum (pictured) where it’s now on display have no idea where it’s come from

A Reading Museum spokesperson said: ‘If you’ve been to Reading Museum’s Welcome Gallery this year, you may have noticed our new linocut artwork on display.

‘Donated to Reading Foundation for Art by a Reading-born person who wished to give back to the town.

‘It was made by none other than Pablo Picasso.’

The spokesperson added: ‘We’re absolutely thrilled to have an original Picasso joining the Reading Museum art collection, through the work of Reading Foundation for Art.

Famous people born in the town include the Princess of Wales Kate Middleton

Ricky Gervais is also in the running to be behind the donation, as he was also born in Reading

The painting, Still Life with a Watermelon, could even have come from television’s Mr Tumble

‘The artwork was made by Picasso when he was 80, experimenting with linocut techniques in the south of France with Hidalgo Arnéra.’

Local Caroline Perkins said: ‘What an amazing donation. Can’t wait to see it.’

The watermelon linocut was previously available to see by the public at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York from April 27–August 1, 2010.

Its entry on the Met’s website lists its provenance as a ‘Mr and Mrs Charles Kramer’. 

Charles Kramer was an American lawyer who had a significant art collection and donated five of his pieces, including Picasso’s linocuts, to the Metropolitan Museum before his death in 1988 at the age of 72.

Picasso paintings are worth millions of pounds.

In 2010, his Nude, Green Leaves and Bust artwork sold at auction for £86milllion.

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