NEW YORK—Casino mogul and art collector Steve Wynn was the buyer of a $10.2 million Ming vase at Christie’s Hong Kong on May 30, a record auction price for any Ming porcelain. The vase, which carried an unpublished estimate of $7.7/10.3 million, is described as Yuhuchunping—early Ming with a copper-red underglaze associated with the Hongwu period (1368-1398).
Said Ken Yeh, deputy chairman for Christie’s Asia in Hong Kong: “Mr. Wynn plans to donate the vase to a museum in Macau,” nearby on the China coast. Wynn, who was not available for comment, is planning to open a resort and casino in Macau in the fall.
Wynn has appeared numerous times on ARTnews magazine’s annual list of the top collectors in the world, and is well-known for spending large sums on masterpieces ranging from Old Masters to Impressionist and modern paintings.
His major purchases in recent years have included: $30 million for Johannes Vermeer’s A Young Woman Seated at the Virginals, circa 1670, acquired at Sotheby’s London in 2004; and Picasso’s Nature morte aux tulips, 1932, which he bought from French billionaire and Christie’s owner François Pinault (ANL, 4/12/05). Though the purchase price is not known, the Picasso had in fact fetched $28.6 million when auctioned at Christie’s evening sale in May 2000. Some important pieces from Wynn’s collection have been on view at the Wynn Las Vegas Resort, which opened a year-ago April.