The 1943 Pablo Picasso painting “Le Marin” or “The Sailor”, valued at $70 million, was “accidentally damaged” on Friday at a presale exhibition of Christie’s auction of Impressionist and Modern art which was to take place on Tuesday.
The auction house released a statement, saying, “After consultation with the consignor today, the painting has been withdrawn from Christie’s May 15 sale to allow the restoration process to begin. We have taken immediate measures to remedy the matter in partnership with our client. No further information is available at this time.”
In April, the unnamed client had been identified as disgraced casino mogul Steve Wynn, who resigned after sexual misconduct allegations were made against him. In 2006, Wynn damaged another Picasso painting after he accidentally put his elbow through it. Wynn suffers from a degenerative eye disease retinitis pigmentosa. The painting was Picasso’s 1932 masterpiece “Le Rêve”. The painting was later restored and sold to billionaire hedge fund collector Steven A. Cohen.
Christie’s did not share the extent of the damage done to “Le Marin”, but has withdrawn another Picasso painting which was expected to sell for $22 to $28 million.
“These things happen,” Guillaume Cerutti, Christie’s chief executive, said without making further comment.
– Blair Halliday