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Billionaire's latest brush with trouble as £70m Picasso pulled from auction

16 May 2018

A restorer said the repaired painting was worth $85 million, according to the lawsuit.

Outside conservators have already been consulted to restore the piece.

It has not been specified how the pricey 1943 painting, "Le Marin (The Sailor)", was damaged, but it was reportedly an accident that occurred during final preparations on Friday.

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For the second time in 12 years a Picasso masterpiece owned by the billionaire collector Steve Wynn has been damaged days before being sold. "After consultation with the consignor today, the painting has been withdrawn from Christie's May 15 sale to allow the restoration process to begin".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".

For "Le Marin", Christie's had assured the seller of a minimum price and found a third-party guarantor to bid for the piece at auction. "No further information is available at this time".

The oil-on-canvas work, executed on October 28, 1943, has always been seen as among Picasso's most celebrated self-images, with the artist wearing one of his famous striped fisherman's jerseys.

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The circumstances of the latest incident are unknown. In 2006 the billionaire put his elbow through Picasso's 1932 "Le Reve" whilst showing it to guests in Las Vegas. After restoration, the painting was purchased in 2013 by Cohen for $155 million.

Bloomberg reports Wynn has since chose to pull another Picasso painting, 1964's "Femme au chat assise dans un fauteuil" (woman with a cat), from the auction.

Wynn resigned as chief executive officer of Wynn Resorts February and stepped down as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Lin Wood, a spokesman for Wynn, declined to comment.

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Billionaire's latest brush with trouble as £70m Picasso pulled from auction