It was a nightmare scenario: the most expensive piece of art in the world damaged on the eve of its sale.
LAS VEGAS, NV/
“Le Rêve” is Pablo Picasso’s 1932 portrait of his mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter. Owned by billionaire casino magnate Steve Wynn, it was in the process of being sold for $139 million to hedge-fund mogul and avid art collector Steven Cohen. Days before the sale was to be finalized, Wynn was showing “Le Rêve” to a group of friends and celebrities. Standing next to the painting, he was describing its provenance and gesturing with his arm when he accidently put his elbow through it, creating a silver-dollar-size hole in the canvas.
While “Le Rêve” could be repaired, its value had allegedly dropped to $85 million. Wynn filed a claim with his insurers for $54 million to recover the lost value. However, while the insurers investigated the matter, Wynn filed a lawsuit against the insurers stating it was deliberately delaying its response to the claim. Mendes represented the insurers in negotiations that resulted in a settlement favorable to both parties. As for “Le Rêve,” Wynn took the event as a sign and kept the painting.