A $139 Million Elbow

I’m not in Steve Wynn’s league, but I’ve definitely damaged some of my own art (think dropping it on the ground, putting tape over the corner of something and watching the painting peel off when the tape is removed, and the occassional scuff mark.)  So – it was with horror (and a gret deal of sympathy) that I read Nora Ephron’s amazing story of watching Steve Wynn accidently put his elbow through Le Reve – a Picasso painting that Wynn owns that he had just agreed to sell to Steven Cohen for $139 million.

Now – that’s throwing an elbow that even Charles Barkley would be proud of.  Wynn was apparently incredibly gracious – merely exclaiming “Oh shit.  Look what I’ve done.  Thank God it was me.”  While I would have substituted “fuck” for “oh shit”, I’d like to hope I would have had the same calm reaction.

The New Yorker had a good interview with Wynn on this.  He’s decided to keep the painting.  In the face of $139 million and an incredible Picasso, it appears that Wynn kept his cool the whole way through.  Wow.

  • I’ve spent some time with Steve Wynn and this sounds exactly like him. Easy going, mellow, very pleasant, a bit odd, yet a real gentleman who has a real appreciation for the visual arts.

  • Dave Jilk

    Reminds me of the Mr. Bean movie. Excruciating.

  • mike

    Relatively speaking , how big a relative mistake is this? Is this like us backing the car into a mailbox or taking the new uninsured Lexus into a tree!

  • Looking at this from another angle (always a good thing to do with art), Wynn’s elbow is now a part of the painting’s history. That isn’t going to change, and maybe down the road it adds to the painting’s pedigree.

    I completely agree that he was extremely gracious about it. Hopefully it’s not eating him up in private, but I kind of doubt that.

  • My guess is that if you are in the financial position to own a $139 million dollar Picasso, it is much easier to keep your cool when put your elbow through it.

  • I came to this site via compete.com’s blog and I got a kick out of your post. Great commentary on Wynn’s elbow. I think a few more blogs can use some comic relief.

  • How to mend a Picasso painting: