Photo Courtesy of Sotheby's
Picasso is one of the world's most revered artists so it's not really a surprise that his Le Rêve has been sold to billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen for $155 million, the highest price a US collector has ever paid for a piece of art, making it the priciest Picasso ever sold. What is surprising — at least to me — is that Le Reve (The Dream) was sold for this crazy price after
the seller, hotelier Steve Wynn, accidentally put his elbow through it. How does someone accidentally jab his elbow through a Picasso, causing a six-inch tear in the canvas? Guess you'll have to form your own opinion, but I'm going to assume alcohol was involved.
According to the Daily Mail
, Cohen originally decided to buy the 1932 painting for $139 million in 2006. The day after the agreement Wynn was apparently showing the Picasso piece off to his buddies when he somehow
put his elbow through it, leading him to release Cohen from the sale. Wynn doesn't have very good peripheral vision due to an eye condition he suffers from so he probably didn't know he was that close to the piece when he starting flinging his arms around. Now that the painting has been restored, Cohen has agreed to pay $155 million to get his hands on it, at $16M more than the original price — I guess being worth around $9.3 billion and owning artworks from van Gogh, de Kooning, Warhol, and Cezanne means you can spend whatever you want on a painting. Not only is Wynn making a killing on the painting itself, he also got a $45M insurance payout after the elbow incident from Lloyd's of London, teaching us all that damaging the most expensive Picasso artwork doesn't have to end badly.