Steve Wynn furious at Christie’s for damaging his Picasso masterpiece

Steve Wynn furious at Christie’s for damaging his Picasso masterpiece

Former casino mogul Steve Wynn is incandescent after Christie’s staff allegedly allowed a metal rod to pierce through a priceless Picasso masterpiece he planned to sell for $100 million.

Sources say Wynn’s 1943 Picasso self-portrait, “Le Marin,” was severely damaged while stored at the auction house, as a metal extension pole for a wall paint roller allegedly fell on the canvas, creating a “significant hole” in the masterpiece.

The catastrophe uncoiled as Christie’s staff prepared to exhibit the artwork ahead of the auction.

This comes years after Wynn put his elbow through another Picasso masterpiece, “Le Rêve,” in 2006, leaving a silver-dollar-size hole. It was repaired and sold in 2013 for $155 million.

Wynn, 76, fears “Le Marin” is so badly damaged that it may be beyond repair. He also believes Christie’s may be low-balling him by valuing it at $70 million, while he insists it could have fetched more than $100 million at the May 15 auction.

Wynn’s adviser, private-wealth lawyer and Pillsbury partner Michael Kosnitzky, told Page Six, “To say that Mr. Wynn is upset is an extreme understatement. This was clearly an act of gross negligence on the part of Christie’s employees.”

Wynn is represented by litigators from his firm, while restorers and loss adjusters survey the damage.

Kosnitzky added, “We hope and anticipate that the painting can be properly restored. We also hope this matter can be amicably resolved with Christie’s. The other issue is the value they ascribe to the work — $70 million. We strongly disagree with it. Mr. Wynn contends it would have sold for over $100 million, and would have been the most significant work in the show.

“There may be a debate among art and insurance experts for some time, but Mr. Wynn’s new art dealership expects to be fully compensated for the cost and time to repair the painting, and the diminution in its value, following this flagrant act of gross negligence by Christie’s staff.”

Wynn stepped down from his casino empire in February in the wake of multiple allegations of sexual harassment spanning decades, but strongly denied any wrongdoing. The Picasso was one of three works going under the hammer to launch his new business Sierra Fine Art, LLC, through which the experienced collector intends to become the world’s most prominent art dealer to the wealthy, despite his eyesight problems.

Christie’s did not comment on how decorating equipment allegedly came into contact with valuable artwork, reiterating their statement that the Picasso was “accidentally damaged.”

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