NEW YORK—The tale involving a painting by Pablo Picasso, the insurer of the work and an art-collecting billionaire appears to have reached a conclusion.
On March 22 the casino magnate and art collector Steve Wynn dismissed his lawsuit against Lloyd’s of London, the insurer he had accused of stalling on settling his claim for damage sustained by Picasso’s Le Rêve, 1932 (ANL, 1/27/07).
The one-page document discontinuing Wynn’s suit against Lloyd’s, which was filed in Manhattan federal court, does not state whether the claim was settled or how much Lloyd’s might have paid Wynn for the diminution in value of the painting.
Calls to Lloyd’s press office in London, the general counsel for Wynn Resorts and Wynn’s attorney Barry Slotnick seeking further information on the settlement were not returned. Insurance industry experts suggest, however, that the lawsuit dismissal indicates the matter most likely has been fully resolved. One source familiar with the case told ARTnewsletter that the case had been settled for approximately $40 million.
In his suit Wynn asserted that the picture, which suffered a three-inch tear when he accidentally jabbed his elbow into it last September, had been reduced in value from $139 million to $85 million after restoration, according to appraisers who were not named in the suit.
Faults Pace of Settlement
Lloyd’s had two experts examine the painting, but Wynn contended that the insurer was not settling the case fast enough. When the suit against Lloyd’s was brought in January, Wynn’s attorney Slotnick suggested to ARTnewsletter that Lloyd’s had been holding up the processing of Wynn’s claim for the firm’s own financial gain.
Wynn’s evaluation of the painting prior to damage was based on a contract he had made to sell the work to hedge-fund founder Steven Cohen, of SAC Capital Partners, for $139 million. The deal, which had been inked the day before the incident, was canceled by Wynn after Le Rêve, which depicts Picasso’s mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter, sustained the tear. Wynn, who has macular degeneration, a condition that limits his peripheral vision, was showing the painting to writer Nora Ephron, her husband, Nicholas Pileggi, and Barbara Walters when the damage occurred. Ephron later wrote that afterward Wynn exclaimed, “Thank God it was me.”