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$70 million Picasso painting accidentally damaged, pulled from auction

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Oops. On Friday, a painting by Pablo Picasso was damaged by Christie's auction house and has been withdrawn from their May 15 sale. The painting, Le Marin (The Sailor), was created by Picasso as a self-portrait in 1943. It was sent to auction by its owner, accused rapist Steve Wynn. The New York Times reports: The unnamed client of Christie’s had been identified by Bloomberg in April as the casino mogul Steve Wynn, who in February resigned as chairman and chief executive of Wynn Resorts as a result of sexual misconduct allegations. In 2006, Mr. Wynn, who suffers from the degenerative eye disease retinitis pigmentosa, accidentally put his elbow through the canvas of Picasso’s celebrated 1932 masterwork “Le Rêve,” which he had agreed to sell to the billionaire hedge fund collector Steven A. Cohen for $135 million. The painting was restored and was eventually sold to Mr. Cohen in 2013 for $155 million. It is currently on show in the exhibition “Picasso 1932: Love Fame Tragedy” at Tate Modern in London. Christie’s has not divulged the precise nature of the damage to “Le Marin,” but following the mishap, the auction house said in an email that Picasso’s 1964 painting “Femme au chat assise dans un fauteuil” (“Woman With a Cat Seated in an Armchair”), estimated at $22 million to $28 million, has also been withdrawn from the sale. This second Picasso had also been identified as being offered by Mr. Wynn. Like “Le Marin,” it had been guaranteed to sell courtesy of a third party. Picasso painted Le Marin, was expected to fetch $70M in auction, just weeks after he faced a threat from Nazis planning to deport him to a concentration camp. image via Christie's

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