Vleeptron displays it here without the big rip in Marie-Therese Walter's forearm made by the owner's clumsy elbow. If you want to see the actual painting, it's in Las Vegas and has a big rip in it.
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The Scotsman (Scotland)
Thursday 19 October 2006
after ripping Picasso
by Craig Howie and Aura Sabadus
IT WAS a moment in which tragedy and comedy came together to create one of the fine art world's worst disasters.
Billionaire Steve Wynn had just agreed to sell a Picasso masterpiece for £74,000,000 -- a record price -- when, as he gesticulated to friends, he put his elbow right through it.
"Oh shit, look what I've done," he said, with considerable understatement. "Thank God it was me."
Author Nora Ephron, who was among the witnesses and who described the incident in an internet blog, had been taking a private tour of the Las Vegas casino magnate's art collection, which includes leading works by Picasso, Matisse and other great names. The When Harry Met Sally writer was marvelling at the abstract work called The Dream, Picasso's 1932 portrait of his mistress Marie-Therese Walter. As Mr Wynn stood, effusively detailing its history to the group and the price he had agreed with a fellow collector, he told them: "This is the most money ever paid for a painting," according to Ms Ephron.
Then followed a moment of horror and suspense common to the twisting plots of her stories, "there was a terrible noise", she reported. Mr Wynn, in his enthusiasm, had put his right elbow through the world's most expensive painting. "There, smack in the middle of Marie-Therese Walter's plump and allegedly erotic forearm, was a black hole the size of a silver dollar -- or, to be more exact, the size of the tip of Steve Wynn's elbow -- with two three-inch long rips coming off it in either direction," Ms Ephron wrote.
She was as stunned and speechless as the casino owner, who is known for gesticulating with his hands while speaking, and has retinitis pigmentosa, a disease that restricts his peripheral vision. Ms Ephron described the scene as Mr Wynn tried to absorb what he had just done.
"The word 'money' was mentioned by someone, or perhaps it was the word 'deal'. "Wynn said, 'This has nothing to do with money. The money means nothing to me. It's that I had this painting in my care and I've damaged it'."
Ms Ephron described how she believed something "very private" had happened and felt "absolutely terrible" for Mr Wynn.
The casino magnate has now decided not to sell the painting, which he bought for £25,800,000 in 1997, but to keep it and repair it, his spokeswoman, Denise Randazzo, confirmed. The £74,000,000 price tag would have been £2,100,000 higher than the previous private-sale record, paid for Gustav Klimt's Adele Bloch-Bauer I, in July this year.
Sir Timothy Clifford, former director of the National Galleries of Scotland, said all was not lost and the value of the painting would not change "dramatically".
"I suspect that the Picasso will be restorable, but it's very, very tragic," he said.
"As long as it can be carefully and well restored, I suspect that it can be all right."
Comments Add your comment
1. Scott / 2:03am 19 Oct 2006
It could only have improved it
2. Dave, Edinburgh / 3:16am 19 Oct 2006
I find it extremely disturbing that this order of value is attributed to a painting, and more disturbing still that anyone should actually pay this much one. So, full marks to Mr Wynn for his reaction to his own clumsiness, but take them all back again for having bought the hideous thing in the first place.
Beauty, of course, is in the eye of the beholder, so put this 'masterpiece' on the wall alongside the unmade beds, and piles of tyres and let those with disturbed minds gaze in wonder.
3. Callum / 4:20am 19 Oct 2006
I have to say I only see the laughable in this.
Does that make me a philistine?
© 2006 Scotsman.com