Billionaires Share Artwork to Back Shows Three NYC Blocks Apart

(Bloomberg) -- It was a highlight of recent Pablo Picasso exhibitions in Paris and London. Now the Spanish master’s celebrated painting “Le Reve" (“The Dream") is returning to New York.

The sensual 1932 portrait of the artist’s lover Marie-Therese Walter will be featured at Gagosian gallery’s exhibition “Picasso’s Women: Fernande to Jacqueline,” opening this week. Hedge-fund manager Steve Cohen, who bought it from Steve Wynn for $155 million in 2013, is loaning the painting.

Billionaires Share Artwork to Back Shows Three NYC Blocks Apart

Cohen is among collectors lending masterpieces to New York galleries as the city enters a season of art fairs and auctions. Within just three blocks -- from East 76th Street to East 79th Street -- there will be exhibitions for Picasso, Lucian Freud and Willem de Kooning. Billionaires Roman Abramovich, Joe Lewis and Mitchell Rales are among those also contributing works to the galleries, in addition to public institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim. All shows are free to the public.

At Gagosian’s Madison Avenue headquarters, "Le Reve" will be shown alongside paintings owned by Picasso’s family. The exhibition is dedicated to the artist’s biographer John Richardson, who died in March and had organized several grand shows at Gagosian centered on the Spaniard’s lovers.

"Le Reve" was last seen publicly in New York in 2008 as part of a Marie-Therese themed exhibition at Acquavella Galleries. At the time it belonged to casino magnate Wynn, who famously put his elbow through the canvas a couple of years earlier.

Cohen is also contributing works to “De Kooning: Five Decades" at the Mnuchin gallery, a show exploring the artist’s evolution over 60 years as he moved between figuration and abstraction.

Billionaires Share Artwork to Back Shows Three NYC Blocks Apart

“Woman III" (1952-53) depicts a nude monster-goddess amidst a sea of raging brushstrokes, while "Police Gazette" is an abstract landscape from 1955. Both pieces were featured in New York during the artist’s retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 2011. Cohen bought them in 2006 from David Geffen, reportedly paying more than $200 million.

Several studies for the Woman series - works on paper rendered in oil, pastel, graphite or charcoal -- come from the Glenstone Museum, founded by Rales in Potomac, Maryland.

Abramovich and Lewis are among the lenders to Acquavella’s “Lucian Freud: Monumental" exhibition where 13 large-scale portraits of male and female nudes are intimate, mesmerizing and grotesque.

Billionaires Share Artwork to Back Shows Three NYC Blocks Apart

The 1995 “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping,” depicts a 280-pound Sue Tilley, curled up on a couch. The painting last appeared on view in New York in 2008 at Christie’s, when Abramovich paid $33.6 million, at the time a record for a living artist.

Another portrait of Tilley from 1995-96, “Sleeping by the Lion Carpet," comes from the collection of currency trader Lewis, showing her nodding in an armchair.

One of the more bizarre works, “Large Interior, Notting Hill" (1998), depicts a naked man, with a baby by his chest. The original sitter was model Jerry Hall, who had just had a baby with partner Mick Jagger (she’s now married to Rupert Murdoch), according to the gallery. Freud’s paintings took months and after Hall skipped a few sittings, Freud gave the work a “sex change,” substituting Hall with his long-time assistant David Dawson.

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