Steve Wynn’s Insurance Claim for Elbowed Picasso

Towards the end of last year the casino mogul Steve Wynn elbowed his Picasso, which put a hole in the work, and lost him a deal that could have put $139 million in his pocket. Well, now the Las Vegas collector is looking to make an insurance claim worth $54 million.

Wynn paid more than $48 million for the Pablo Picasso painting of Marie-Therese Walter back in 1997, and hopes to claim $54 million for a “thumb-sized” rip in the painting.

The repair bill for the damage was $90,000 and it is said to be flawed under black light.

If the painting was valued at $139 million before the damage, and the flaw devalued the painting by $54 million, that must mean it is now worth $85 million. A thumb sized flap that can now only be seen under black light, caused $54 million in damages?!

I wonder how the insurance company (Lloyd’s of London) would feel if they make the payment, then Wynn goes on to sell the painting for $140 million?

Wynn vs. insurers over punctured Picasso
“They’ve started to negotiate,” he said before quickly adding that the talks aren’t going the way he’d like. “Their offer is ridiculous,” he said, though he declined to give specifics.
He attacked the insurance industry as a whole, saying they play “dirty tricks” and it was standard practice for insurance companies to delay responding to claims in the hopes of wearing down those making claims and getting them to settle for much less than what they are owed.
Yahoo News

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. The world of money. On the one hand that’s one reason you have insurance. On the other hand it’s a bit crazy if not extremely excessive. Wynn will win I bet.

    And what is the ‘value’ now of this piece? If he gets the 50 plus million ins. payout he profits. And if he sells it for about 85 million he profits big time.

    It’s kinda surreal.

  2. One thing is certain.
    It is not as if you or I were to have a dispute with our insurance company. It is hard not to root against the insurance company since, according to brokers in the family, are very slow to pay and very tight with what they pay. On the other hand, be on the side of Mr. Wynn? You know who ends up paying the winning claims, the rest of us who carry art insurance since the companies only raise their rates if their expenses rise.

  3. I’m intrigued by this story. For a start, what is “black” light? My albeit dodgy understanding of physics is that black is the absence of light! Maybe it’s ultra violet or infra red they’re talking about.
    You might be interested in Laura Cumming’s article in the Guardian blog, entitled “The case of the £28m hole”. She reckons Wynn is “taking the Mickey”. Sounds about right to me. Find the blog at:

  4. That link didn’t publish fully. Here it is broken up:
    Last chance….

  5. Yeah, I agree with her comments on the case..

    “The case of the silver-dollar-sized hole, as Wynn has described it, is utterly baffling. It is incredible to think that the experts, who include the restorer himself, actually believe the painting to be worth so many millions less because there has been some interference with the surface of the canvas. What can one conclude? That intrinsic worth can be compromised by extrinsic damage? That the restorer, et al, have got some very odd ideas? That Wynn is taking the mickey?”

    Sure, insurance might be expensive for the poor guy, but his claim seems a little on the excessive side if you ask me. And like Irv says, everyone is punished with higher insurance costs in the end.

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