Las Vegas’ Picasso Restaurant to Close, Paintings Auctioned Off

One of Las Vegas’ most celebrated high-end restaurants, Picasso at the Bellagio Resort & Casino, is set to close in August.

That’s when head chef and restaurateur Julian Serrano will be retiring. And the high-class eatery he pioneered will leave with him.

The announcement of the pending closure comes days after Bellagio Resort owner MGM Resorts International revealed it will be selling several of the famous Pablo Picasso original paintings that adorned the walls of the restaurant and the wider resort space.

“Femme au beret rouge-orange,” or “Woman in red-orange beret” is expected to sell for some $20 million. Among other paintings from the famous Spanish artist up for sale is “Home et Enfant” (“Man and Child”), which is expected to fetch $30 million.

Picasso the restaurant opened in 1998. During its 25 years at the Bellagio, it set a new standard for high-end dining in Sin City. It was also awarded a coveted two Michelin Stars and a Forbes Five-Star Award.

The MGM Fine Art Collection contains about 900 works by some of the world’s most famous artists. MGM is setting out to diversify the collection with more contemporary artists.

The Restaurant

The intimate Picasso restaurant was part of the new wave of high-end dining experiences that arrived in Las Vegas in the 1990s.

As well as award-winning food and real Picasso paintings, the restaurant’s terrace offers the spectacular backdrop of the iconic Bellagio fountains. The restaurant was also used as the backdrop for several meeting scenes in 2001 Vegas heist movie Ocean’s 11.

“As Chef Serrano embarks on this well-deserved retirement, we reflect on the remarkable 25-year journey of Picasso, a cornerstone of culinary excellence at Bellagio,” said Resort CEO and President Ann Hoff.

“His artistry has left an indelible mark on our guests and the Las Vegas dining scene. While we bid a very fond farewell to Picasso and the stellar team who provided unmatched hospitality to our guests for decades, we celebrate its enduring legacy and Chef Serrano’s immeasurable contributions to our culinary landscape.”

The Picasso’s terrace guests can see one of Serrano’s two other Las Vegas eateries. The veteran chef will also be departing his other Bellagio restaurant, Lago, although, unlike Picasso, it will continue to operate without him.

Serrano will also still make regular appearances at his remaining Sin City restaurant, Julian Serrano Tapas at ARIA Resort and Casino.

The Art

The closure of the Picasso comes at the same time operator MGM is set to sell off several original Picasso artworks, as part of a wider sale of assets from its MGM Resorts Fine Arts Collection.

The four Picasso paintings, two of which are currently in the restaurant, are expected to sell for around $100 million.

Steve Wynn started the Fine Arts Collection around the time he opened the Bellagio. The former casino mogul went on to start Wynn Resorts after MGM merged with his Mirage Resorts and took over the Bellagio. However, much of the prestigious art collection stayed with MGM.

He has continued to invest in art in his retirement, after a series of sexual misconduct allegations forced him to retire from Nevada gaming in 2019.

The sale of the Picassos is part of a drive by MGM to diversify its art collection. It says it wants a more contemporary offering of talent from demographics beyond the largely white and male modern masters.

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