Artfest International, Inc. announced today that it has agreed to terms and will be purchasing an original Pablo Picasso sculpture titled “Rendering of Francoise Gilot” directly from the artist’s personal collection. Picasso, born in Spain in 1881, completed the wooden sixty-by-twenty-seven sculpture in 1949. Per the agreement, Artfest will pay $2.5 million in cash and issue 50 million warrants at $1 per share. Francoise Gilot was a staple in the collection of artwork by Picasso in the 1940s after the two met in Paris. The demand for original Picasso’s depicting Gilot has remained high to this day with prices ranging from $5 million to $150 million for the artworks. “Rendering of Francoise Gilot” was independently appraised by Eritas Fine Art Appraising and Consulting, LLC in February 2010. Their appraisal set the value between $50 and $70 million.
Artfest International has seen tremendous growth over the last year with an increase in revenues in excess of $2.2 million from the year ending 2009 as compared to the year ending 2008. This drastic increase in operating revenue is due in part to an increase in sales of art and sports memorabilia through the Company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Charity Sports Distributor (CSD), as well as through events held at Artfest International’s 52,000 square foot facility in Dallas, Texas, and direct sales activity through its ArtFest Direct, Inc. and Art Channel Galleries, Inc. subsidiaries.
Artfest’s business plan for 2010 includes several high-end purchase plans for artwork such as the Picasso piece with a long-term goal of uplisting from the bulletin board exchange. Edward Vakser, CEO of Artfest International, Inc. was quoted as stating in the press release, “The purchase of this original Picasso art piece will increase Artfest International’s asset base as we continue to meet the requirements of becoming listed on a higher exchange such as the NASDAQ or the AMEX.”
Artfest is also generating cash through an offering of shares of Artfest Direct. In a recent press release, Artfest International announced that all Artfest International Shareholders of Record as of April 15 will receive 1 share of Artfest Direct valued at $10 per share for every 1000 shares they own of Artfest International (ARTS) on the record date. The Company will be conducting an offering of Artfest Direct shares at $10.00 per share and Artfest Direct will be capitalized with 10 million shares outstanding. The Company’s goal is to raise $10 million for the acquisition of additional fine art and sports memorabilia which will be offered directly to the public. Artfest International will be announcing details for the complete spin off and Public Offering of Artfest Direct in the near future.