Sold for $155m to American hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen: Picasso that was worth $16m less before it got ripped

Casino magnate who tore masterpiece with his elbow sets record price for artist with deal

Steve Wynn’s failure to tell his art from his elbow seven years ago left a six-inch tear in a Picasso masterpiece he owned- and derailed its sale for $139m.

But the Las Vegas casino magnate finally closed the deal this week, selling the painting Le Rêve to the same buyer, and charging an extra $16m on top of the original asking price to take the total to $155m (£103m).

Le Rêve, a portrait of the Spanish artist’s 22-year-old mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter, is said to have been painted in one afternoon in 1932, when Picasso was 50. Mr Wynn, right, has sold it to Steven Cohen, a hedge fund manager reputedly worth $9.3bn, according to The New York Post. The $155m price is believed to make Le Rêve the most expensive Picasso ever, and the second costliest painting of all time, before adjustments for inflation.

Gijs Van Hensbergen, a Picasso expert, said he believed the artist was “without doubt the creative genius of the 20th century” and still relevant to collectors today. “These paintings are pretty amazing. There is something magical about them,” he said. “He is recent enough for us to feel we have something to do with him. You are still tapping into something you recognise from your own culture.”

Le Rêve is the third Picasso to fetch more than $100m. Another 1932 portrait of Marie-Thérèse Walter, Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, went for $106.5m at Christie’s in May 2010. Garçon à la Pipe sold for $104.2m in 2004.

Ben Street, an art historian, said Picasso was still popular because “he is totally endorsed by all major modern art museums [and] will never not be important”. He added that Picassos from the 1930s were particularly sought-after because they were “very sensual and attractive”. “It was a really good period for him,” said Mr Street. “They are also easily readable. Le Rêve … ticks a lot of the boxes and I can understand why it would go for this much.”

The most money paid for a painting was for Paul Cezanne’s 1892 work The Card Players, which was sold to the royal family of Qatar for a reported $259m in April 2011.

Mr Cohen, 56, is the founder of SAC Capital Advisors, based in Stamford, Connecticut. He has a large art collection and has long coveted Le Rêve. Mr Wynn, who has a disease that affects his peripheral vision, bought the work at auction for $48.4m in 1997. He agreed to sell it to Mr Cohen in 2006 but the deal collapsed after it was damaged.

Mr Wynn was showing the painting to guests in his Las Vegas office when he accidentally tore a six-inch hole in it with his elbow. “With a lot of old paintings there is wear and tear,” Mr Van Hensbergen said. “This one just has a bit more tear.”

However, after a $90,000 restoration the damage is now invisible to the naked eye.

Art breakers: record-beating sales

The Card Players

The Qatari royal family broke all records when they bought The Card Players by Paul Cezanne in May 2010. As with many private sales the exact price is not known, although it is believed to be just shy of $260m (£170m).

No.5, 1948

David Geffen sold Jackson Pollock’s No 5, 1948 for an estimated $140m (£92m), in a deal supposedly brokered by Tobias Meyer of Sotheby’s. The work is referenced in “Going Down” by The Stone Roses.

Woman III

Another work sold by Geffen in 2006 was abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning’s Woman III, painted in 1953. The work was bought by Cohen for $135m (£89m), making it the third most expensive of the time.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot has been cast to play Wonder Woman
film
News
Top Gear presenter James May appears to be struggling with his new-found free time
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kendrick Lamar at the Made in America Festival in Los Angeles last summer
music
Arts and Entertainment
'Marley & Me' with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Hamm (right) and John Slattery in the final series of Mad Men
tv
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor