Steve Wynn Selling Art Worth $150 Million, Picassos and Warhol Up for Auction

Posted on: April 10, 2018, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: April 10, 2018, 02:51h.

Embattled former Wynn Resorts chairman and CEO Steve Wynn is selling off a chunk of his celebrated art collection.

Steve Wynn selling art including Warhol’s Double Elvis and two Picassos
Bob Dylan checking out Double Elvis at Andy Warhol’s Factory in New York. It’s expected to fetch more than $30 million when it goes up for auction at Christie’s next month. (Image: Nat Finklestein)

The casino mogul is reportedly in the process of hawking at least three major works, including paintings by Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol, collectively worth some $150 million.

Wynn is selling the art “anonymously” at Christie’s auction house in Los Angeles next month, according to unnamed sources, who spoke to Bloomberg this week.

The reason for the sale is unclear, but it’s possible the paintings are in some way tied to Wynn’s equity in Wynn Resorts, which he sold last month for $2.1 billion.

The ex-mogul has been accused of sexual misconduct by numerous former female employees. This rendered his continued status as a majority shareholder of the company untenable, as it had the potential to jeopardize Wynn Resorts’ gaming licenses in several jurisdictions. Despite the divestiture and his resignation from the company, he continues to deny the allegations.

Double Elvis

Due to go under the gavel at Christies on May 15 is Picasso’s 1943 self-portrait Le Marin (The Sailor), which is expected to fetch the most, as experts value it at around $70 million.

Picasso’s 1964 portrait Femme au chat Assise dans un Fauteuil (Woman with a Cat Sitting in an Armchair) will be auctioned on the same day and is expected to be sold for between $25 million and $35 million.

Two days later, Warhol’s Double Elvis [Ferus Type], a silkscreen portrait of Elvis Presley dressed as a cowboy drawing a gun, will go on the block. Last time it was auctioned, which was at Sotheby’s in 2012, it was sold to Israeli industrialist Jose Mugrabi for $37 million. Wynn later bought it privately from Mugrabi for an unknown sum.       

Dream Ticket

Wynn’s fine art collection is well-known, largely because he’s exhibited parts of it at his casinos, including the Bellagio Gallery of Fine art when it was under his purview and before it became part of the MGM casino group  on the Strip. Paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Turner, Monet, and Van Gogh, as well as contemporary artists like Jeff Koons, are among his collection.

The centerpiece was once Picasso’s Le Rêve (The Dream), which, in 2006, Wynn planned to sell 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 just prior to the sale, Wynn reportedly put his elbow through the canvas while showing it off to guests.

After restoration work costing $90,000, Le Rêve’s valuation was revised to just $85 million. Wynn sued his insurance company for the difference and eventually sold the painting to Cohen in 2013 for $155 million.