When the Sunflowers by Van Gogh sold for $85 million it was the most expensive painting ever sold, at the time. World wide press went nuts about the sales price and the fact that it was bought by a Japanese Insurance company. Years later, when the Japanese resold it to an Australian, they declared that they calculated the value of the international publicity for their company exceeded the price they paid for the painting!!!... AND then they sold the painting for a profit resulting in years of mega-free publicity!! They were very happy about the resounding success of their business strategy.
When Steve Wynn put his elbow through his $165 million Picasso, he (and his collection at the Bellaggio in Las Vegas) probably got more world-wide publicity value that the painting was worth too!! And that doesn’t include the “help” in selling the “damaged” painting through the insurance settlement, which was substantial. He “made out like a bandit” but then again that shouldn’t surprise anyone when talking about people that do business and collect on his level.
Even though the damage to the painting happened years ago people still ask what I think about the matter. I'm asked if I was called to work on the painting (probably because we are the only firm providing professional painting conservation services in Las Vegas (there are other fixer upper restorers but we won't talk about that...). We provide door to door painting restoration evaluations throughout Southern California, Las Vegas and North to Salt Lake City. Click here for a quick video with some testimonials.
The work of correctly and professionally repairing the “ding” in the painting is not that big of a deal in art conservation treatment terms. I accept that Picasso is the most influential artist of the 20th century but just because its by Picasso doesn’t make it art materials-wise or technically, unique. I’m sure, though that there are a myriad of political issues involved beyond the simple repair. I haven’t seen the painting nor have I seen any documentation of the damage. But having read the accounts of the damage, I envision what was needed to be done to bring the painting back to as close to “pre-existing conditions” (an insurance term) as possible, was at most a job of a couple of $1,000s. But I heard that the final bill was around $65,000... so it sounds like there is more to the drama than we’re heard.
My Dad had a saying, “The definition of an “expert” is someone who’s from out of town.” While I’m involved with a couple of conservation projects in Italy as an out-of-town consulting expert (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldQSxjAzSUA) I can see that the same is true for Steve Wynn’s expert art conservator. My comment here is not a negative comment regarding the skills of the art conservator that did the work on the painting and I’m sure she is extremely skilled and well acquainted with Picasso’s paintings. You’ll be interested to read the following article about the French art conservator that is imported to work on the collection’s paintings: http://lasvegasweekly.com/ae/fine-art/2015/dec/22/the-art-conserving-picassos-in-bellagios-picasso/
This short video shows you the step by step process of repairing a rip but also includes the backing or lining process which I’m not sure was performed on Wynn’s Picasso: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xhhu0AZ_WVI
Want to know more about FACL?
Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (FACL, Inc.) has been providing professional painting restoration services since 1986 and Scott M. Haskins, Chief Painting Conservator has been working in the field since 1975.
Click here for FACL’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/bestartdoc
Feel free to call or write if you have questions:
Scott M. Haskins
805 570 4140 mobile - 805 564 3438 office
If you would like to know more about what you can do to protect and preserve your original family history items, collectibles and memorabilia click on this link for a free copy of Scott M. Haskins’ book Save Your Stuff – Collection Care Tips, 210 pages with 35 embedded how-to videos.
CLICK HERE for our YouTube channel to see a quick video on Discovering Hidden Signatures on Paintings!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxOqa-Aa9Nk