Billionaire Steve Wynn, chairman and chief executive officer of Wynn Resorts Ltd., speaks during an interview in Macau, China. (Photographer: Calvin Sit/Bloomberg)

Second Wynn Picasso Yanked From Christie's Sale After Mishap

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(Bloomberg) -- Steve Wynn’s plan to sell a pair of Picasso paintings for a high estimate of $105 million was derailed after the more expensive of the two was damaged Friday -- a dozen years after the billionaire collector and erstwhile casino magnate put his elbow through another masterpiece by the artist.

“Le Marin,” a 1943 self-portrait, was damaged Friday “during the final stages of preparation” for auction Tuesday and pulled from the block, Christie’s said in a statement. It declined to comment on the nature or extent of the damage. Lin Wood, a spokesman for Wynn, declined to comment.

The painting, which measures a little more than 4-by-2 1/2 feet and estimated at $70 million, was one of three Wynn consigned to Christie’s for sale this week for a total of as much as $135 million, according to the auction house’s estimates. On Monday, Picasso’s 1964 portrait of a woman with a cat, “Femme au chat assise dans un fauteuil,” was also pulled from the auction by mutual agreement with the seller, Christie’s said. That piece, also owned by Wynn, is estimated at $25 million to $35 million.

Wynn, who suffers from a disease that affects his peripheral vision, accidentally struck his Picasso “Le Reve” with his right elbow in 2006 while showing it to friends in his Las Vegas office, leaving a hole the size of a silver dollar. The painting had been worth $139 million before that, according to Wynn’s lawsuit against the insurer, Lloyd’s of London. A restorer said the repaired painting was worth $85 million, according to the lawsuit. Hedge fund titan Steve Cohen bought it from Wynn in 2013 for $155 million.

Both withdrawn paintings had been guaranteed by Christie’s and backed by third-party guarantees. The withdrawal of a work from sale removes any guarantee made for the transaction, Christie’s said, adding that its consignment contracts “have insurance provisions to cover damage and other contingencies.”

Wynn resigned as chief executive officer of Wynn Resorts Ltd. in February amid sexual-misconduct allegations. He has denied wrongdoing.

The other Wynn lot at Christie’s is Andy Warhol’s 1963 “Double Elvis [Ferus Type],” which will be offered as planned at the postwar and contemporary evening sale on May 17, Christie’s said. Estimated at more than $30 million, it depicts Elvis Presley dressed as a cowboy and shooting from the hip.

The painting last appeared at auction in 2012 when it fetched $37 million at Sotheby’s. At the time it was bought by the Mugrabi family, which owns one of the world’s largest private Warhol collections.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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