Not Again! Another Steve Wynn Picasso Damaged, Pulled from Auction

Posted on: May 14, 2018, 12:30h. 

Last updated on: May 14, 2018, 02:29h.

Has Steve Wynn inadvertently smashed another Picasso? The fallen casino tycoon has put his planned auction of the Modernist master’s Le Marin on hold after it was damaged on Friday, 12 years after Wynn put his elbow through another Picasso masterpiece, Le Rêve (The Dream).

Steve Wynn Picasso
Picasso’s Le Marin was expected to fetch $70 million at auction at Christies on Tuesday but it appears to have been damaged. The auction house declined to comment on whether Steve Wynn’s elbow was involved this time. (Image: Don Emmert/AFP)

Le Marin (The Sailor) is one of $150 million-worth of paintings Wynn hoped to auction at Christies this month, along with the Spanish painter’s 1964 portrait Femme au Chat Assise dans un Fauteuil (Woman with a Cat Sitting in an Armchair) and Andy Warhol’s Double Elvis [Ferus Type], a silkscreen portrait of Elvis Presley dressed as a cowboy drawing a six-shooter.

But Le Marin was to be the biggest draw and was expected to fetch the biggest price — experts valued it at $70 million. But Christies announced over the weekend it would be withdrawn from Tuesday’s auction to undergo restoration.

The auction house declined to comment on the cause or extent of the damage when contacted by Bloomberg on Sunday.

Steve Wynn Picasso Habit Becoming Expensive

Wynn, who has in the past exhibited his extensive fine art collection at Wynn Resorts’ casinos, damaged Le Rêve back in 2006, just before he was about to sell it to hedge fund manager Stephen A. Cohen for $139 million.

At the time, it would have been the highest price ever paid for a work of art, but the former casino mogul put his right elbow through the canvas while showing it off to friends in his office, creating a small hole. Wynn suffers from the degenerative eye disease, retinitis pigmentosa, which impacts his peripheral vision, and is registered blind.

After $90,000-worth of restoration work, Le Rêve was revalued at $85 million and Wynn sued his insurance company for the difference. He eventually sold the painting to Cohen in 2013, for $155 million.

Artworks Tied to Wynn Shares?   

It has been speculated that Wynn needs to sell the artworks because they are tied in some way to his equity in Wynn Resorts. He resigned from his roles as chairman and CEO of the company earlier this year and sold all his stock for $2.1 billion.

In January, a Wall Street Journal article accused him of engaging in a “decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct” against female employees.

His status as the company’s majority shareholder became untenable as the allegation sparked investigations by regulators in several jurisdictions, potentially threatening its gaming licenses.

Wynn denies all allegations against him.