Damaged Picasso withdrawn from auction

Picasso's Le Marin has been withdrawn from its auction so that it could be restored.
Picasso's Le Marin has been withdrawn from its auction so that it could be restored.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK • Billionaire Steve Wynn has not perfected the art of looking after his prized artworks - either on his own or by others.

His plan to sell a Picasso valued at US$70 million (S$94 million) at auction this week was derailed after the painting was "accidentally damaged" at a pre-sale exhibition last week.

Auction house Christie's withdrew Le Marin, a self-portrait painted in 1943, from its auction so that it could be restored.

It declined to comment on the nature or extent of the damage.

The painting was one of three that Mr Wynn had consigned to Christie's for sale this week for a total of as much as US$135 million, according to the auction house's estimates.

The billionaire collector and former casino magnate had also had bad luck previously with another masterpiece by Picasso.

In 2006, Mr Wynn, who suffers from a disease that affects his peripheral vision, accidentally struck the artwork called Le Reve with his right elbow while showing it to friends in his Las Vegas office, leaving a small hole.

The painting was worth US$139 million before it was damaged, according to a lawsuit Mr Wynn filed against the insurer, Lloyd's of London. A restorer said the repaired painting was worth US$85 million, the suit noted.

But hedge fund titan Steve Cohen still bought it from Mr Wynn in 2013 for US$155 million.

NYTIMES, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2018, with the headline 'Damaged Picasso withdrawn from auction'. Print Edition | Subscribe