Monday, October 29, 2007

Barack Obama

Thanks for coming to my site about Le Reve and my poster... I hope you learn a thing or two and enjoy yourself.
I just want to mention that I am a huge fan of Senator Obama, I won't explain why here, but if you are interested please check out my Barack Obama site and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Price of paintings

An interesting article about the price of paintings, and how hard it is to determine what people actually pay. Of course, they use Le Reve as an example...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Cool Site

Not Picasso, but check out this Pollock site, thanks Arielle!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Artful Dodgers

From a Forbes article on rich people and sneaky ways of using art to save/earn money,

"Steve Wynn is frequently compared to Norton Simon. A restless collector who bought voluminously mostly during the last five years--in spite of near-blindness from advanced retinitis pigmentosa. Initially he bought for himself and for his firm, Mirage Resorts (which has since been bought by MGM Grand). The works went on view in the Bellagio Hotel as part of a strategy to attract a more cultivated tourist to Las Vegas. All the art not on loan was for sale.

Confronted with a sales tax bill, Wynn succeeded in having the Nevada Legislature pass a law exempting his collection, since, he argued, its regular display provided an educational benefit to the people of Nevada.

While Wynn was buying art tax-free, he was also being paid a reported $5 million a year to allow the Bellagio to show works from his personal collection. When Nevada legislators learned that the Bellagio was charging visitors a stiff admission fee for their educational benefit, they asked why the man earning it should be paying no sales tax on the art that people were paying to see. Wynn agreed to admit Nevada residents at a discounted rate, and the tax exemption was allowed to stand.

Wynn's biographer, John Smith, who described the Nevada Legislature as something close to a wholly-owned subsidiary of the gambling industry, said the tax-exemption gambit was "malarkey, but they let him do it." Wynn is now building Le Rêve, a hotel to house the Picasso painting that he owns and the rest of his collection."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

My company

I've started a company, you should check out my blog and our website. What do you think?

My sister is blogging too!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Uh oh

It seems like a former owner of Le Reve is getting in a lot of trouble.

"He was a serially rich hedge fund manager, a New York socialite married to the granddaughter of ex-US president Dwight D. Eisenhower; the owner of four dozen works of art by Degas, Renoir and Cézanne, he paid $244m (£120m) in 1998 for Van Gogh's "Dr Gachet" and Picasso's "Le Rêve".

This week he is sitting with eight others in the dock in Vienna accused of breach of trust and fraud in one of Austria's biggest corporate scandals.

Wolfgang Flöttl, who has sold his art collection to cover his subsequent losses, is the son of the ex-head of Bawag, a former union-owned bank set up in 1922 for waiters and carpenters that lost €1.4bn (£940m) in currency speculation deals in the Caribbean. It was baled out from near-bankruptcy by the former government a year ago with a €900m underwriting loan. Now Austria's fifth largest bank, it was bought for €3.2bn late last year by US fund Cerberus. "

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mr. Picassohead

Get your Picasso on, and kill some time on the internet.

I made a very cool one, but I can't figure out where it went. When I do, I will be sure to post. Feel free to post yours too

Monday, April 30, 2007

A column from

The erotics of looking and collecting
by Robert Storr

A decade ago I accompanied a group of art patrons on a tour of the collection that then graced the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Our glittering, garrulous host was the man who’d put it together: gambling tycoon and pitchman Steve Wynn. Housed in theatrically designed and illuminated galleries off the casino’s main lobby, where marathoning high rollers and slot-machine-besotted day trippers congregated under a frilly multicoloured firmament of Dale Chihuly glass, Wynn’s vest-pocket museum boasted major works by Camille Pissarro, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh and Willem de Kooning, among others.

And ‘boast’ is the only word for it, since before the Guggenheim gang followed suit – all puns intended – by playing its own hand in Vegas, the anomalous grotto of High Modernism at the Bellagio conferred unique bragging rights on the owner. The side-show-barker gusto with which Wynn showed off his prized possessions to any and all comers – in my case a posse of equally proud possessors – was irresistible in its mixture of Damon Runyon patter and sheer gaucheness – and, for the same reason, impossible to parody. A sample: ‘You know, I love the Impressionists. They’re a great place for the people who come here to start. They’re like a training bra for budding art lovers.’ Having tossed off this well-rehearsed witticism, Wynn then launched into a long story about an acquisition made from an Italian source that ended with him slipping into a raspy, Marlon Brando-esque rendition of ‘I made ’em an offer they couldn’t refuse’. Like the previous joke, this one provoked a flurry of embarrassed looks from the group I was with, partly, no doubt, because Wynn was speaking directly to the wife of an Italian industrialist when he delivered the punchline. But he took no notice and continued to circle the room from one spotlighted picture to the next, basking in their glow and spouting wisecracks. The explanation for his obliviousness, like that for the blasting flood lamps, was that Wynn is almost blind. So while most blue chip collectors couple visual pleasure with delight in ownership, Wynn, arriving late to his declared passion for art, enjoyed only the latter.

Nevertheless, when he left the Bellagio – which had paid for that passion out of company funds – he took the paintings with him, and added to them. His greatest coup was buying Le Rêve (The Dream, 1932), the most alluring of the erotic images Picasso painted of his Lolita, Marie-Thérèse Walter. Yet amid the market delirium Wynn now seems to be cashing out and was recently on the verge on reselling Picasso’s masterwork. Were it not for a mishap that queered the deal, he would have received $139 million, more than twice the $60 million he paid for it. But it is anybody’s guess what it’s worth after Wynn stuck his elbow through the canvas, making a hole the size of a silver dollar in the sumptuous forearm of his sleeping beauty.

As it happens, I know this painting intimately, and it is as a truly shameless art lover that I keenly lament the damage done. For almost 50 years Le Rêve belonged to Victor and Sally Ganz, two of the most important postwar collectors not only of Picasso, but also of Eva Hesse, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Frank Stella. For about a decade I paid regular visits to their apartment, where I could look for undisturbed hours at the marvels filling it. One evening, when left alone with Le Rêve, I became so mesmerized by the girl’s reverie and so enraptured by the creaminess of the paint that describes her tilting head, plump limbs and full body that I reached up over
the chest above which the painting hung and caressed the smooth surface of her breast, which, unsurprisingly given Picasso’s mimetic genius and his palpable lust, captures the silken firmness of her skin with uncanny accuracy. Of course, the dream girl did not awaken, but I am tempted to think that my sinful male gaze become illicit male gesture somehow registered in the tactile zone where – as De Kooning suggested – flesh and paint are indistinguishable. And I imagined that, at least so far as the painter was concerned, my transgression was neither unanticipated nor unwelcome. Moreover, given the earthiness that complemented their elegance, I felt that a kind of permission had been granted me by Sally – a devotee of James Joyce and Vladimir Nabokov – and by Victor – who once disparaged 1980s’ painting by declaring that, unlike the things he lived with and loved, Neo-Expressionism didn’t give him a ‘hard-on’. Having impulsively stroked Le Rêve, I knew what he meant. I wonder whether in his clumsy ardour, Wynn or sighted collectors of his trophy-hunting kind are ever so moved by art, or if they will ever learn to seek satisfaction with a slow hand.

Robert Storr is a critic, curator and Dean of the Yale School of Art. He is Director of the 2007 Venice Biennale.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Oprah Magazine

There is a piece in the current issue of Oprah Magazine (my girlfriend pointed it out to me) that seems pretty appropriate for this blog.
I can't find it online, but I'll write it up for you.

Why a Real Picasso Costs Zillions
What's the difference between a poster and original - besides the money? Alain de Botton looks at the strokes of genius.

My feeling is that works of art conjure up very intense, very personal feelings in people: They make us cry and laugh and reflect on our lives. Through this power, we develop a feeling that is akin to a friendship. Works of art tell us person, true things that even our best friends sometimes don't tell us. They are better than friends. And almost all the time, with paintings, a copy isn't as good as the original. Something gets lost. The copy tends to lose all sorts of information along the way - a particular kind of light or texture or brushstroke that isn't understood by the copyist. Getting it perfect is far, far harder than one might think. One would have to perfectly imitate the hands of a master, which is quasi-impossible.
I don't want to say that we love the original out of mystical reverence for the artist. For the most part, we love the original because it's plain better. The reproductions of paintings are like poems that have been reproduced in a paperback with half words left out. And the joy of seeing a work of art in the flesh that one has previously known only from, let's say, an image in a book, is that suddenly our eyes can benefit from new information. Let's imagine that the image has 10,000 pieces of information in it. Six-by-four-inch photographs in books necessarily lose a lot of information that can be gained only by seeing them in person.
If architecture is properly reproduced, it could be interesting. Mies van de Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion was rebuilt in the 1980's on the spot where the original once stood, and no one seems to mind. It's very popular because it's been meticulously copied. But architecture tends to depend a lot for its success on its site. Uprooting a building is like a transposing a piece of music with a different set of instruments - like playing a Bach cello concerto on an electric guitar. Much is likely to be lost.
The only art form in which copies have a good name is literature, and that's because the copies of books are excellent in quality. They convey all the things we care about.
- As told to Jancee Dunn, printed with a photo of Le Reve.

I like the author's description of art and agree that most posters cannot capture those intense feelings, but I believe mine does because it is not just a copy, but a poster with a story that is connected directly to the painting. And that story adds so much to the painting (and the poster).

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My connection to the Poster

I had been following the elbow story when I saw this posting on

Poke Your Own Picasso

Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn may be suing Lloyd's of London to pay up for his self-damaged Picasso, and he may even be taking a courageous stand versus the whole insurance industry. But now you can own a tangential piece of the story yourself, as blogger Ironic Sans is auctioning a poster featuring Wynn's painting -- Picasso's "Le Rêve" -- from a 1997 Christie's New York auction where the painting was sold for $48.4 million. (Not to Wynn; he bought it in 2001 from the anonymous Christie's purchaser for an undisclosed amount. A pretty good return on the $7,000 investment made in 1941 by Victor and Sally Ganz, whose collection the Christie's event was selling off.) Ironic Sans promises that the poster, going for a mere $0.000012 million as of this writing, remains unpunctured by the elbow of Steve Wynn or any other elbow. What you poke it with after purchase is your own affair.

I loved it so I followed the links to David’s website and found this

Have your own millionaire Picasso experience
This is the story of a Picasso painting, an art auction, celebrity multimillionaires, and a disastrous blunder that put a hole in the most expensive Picasso ever sold. If you keep up with news of the art world, you may have heard it already. But this is also the untold story of an original poster connected with the original auction, why I have it, how you can get it, and how you can make your own experience similar to those celebrity multimillionaires.

Along with posting the recent history of the poster, a little professional history, David explained how he came about obtaining the poster and how he was going about selling it.

"As I mentioned, I worked as a photographer at Christie’s auction house from 1997 to 2000. It was pretty cool photographing priceless collectibles for every department at one of the most prestigious auction houses in the world. I photographed thousands of paintings and sculptures, including many by Picasso, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder, and hundreds of other artists. I photographed documents hand-written by Presidents as far back as George Washington. I shot movie memorabilia including Edward Scissorhands’ gloves, the amulet from Raiders of the Lost Ark, and one of the Robocop costumes. I got to see the Archimedes Palimpsest first hand. And I shot photos of Neil Armstrong’s space suit. Okay, it wasn’t the one he walked on the moon in, it was just the one he did his training in, but still it’s pretty cool.
And I was there to see Le Reve sell for $48.4 million."

"Working at Christie’s, I occasionally kept mementos of high profile auctions. I have a bookshelf overflowing with catalogs I photographed, but I only kept posters from one auction, the first high profile auction to happen during my time there. I kept the poster for the auction of the Collection of Victor and Sally Ganz, featuring Le Reve.
And now, history repeats itself on a much smaller scale as I am putting one of these original posters up for auction on eBay. I guarantee that as of right now, Steve Wynn has not punched a hole in it, and I will do my best to make sure that he does not punch any holes in it before the auction ends.
If you are the winning bidder, the poster will be sent to you in the same cardboard tube in which it has sat rolled up since I took it home nearly ten years ago. This poster has not been hanging on my wall, and is in excellent condition. It has no folds. There may be slight wear and tear on the edges, as might be expected of a poster rolled up in a tube for ten years. But you’d hardly notice unless you look closely.
Once the poster is yours, you are free to do with it as you please. Sell it to an investment banker at great profit. Hang it up. Invite your celebrity friends over to view it. Recreate a historic moment by shoving your elbow through it. I’m not sure whether or not you’ll be able to get Lloyd’s of London to insure it, but you’re welcome to try.
The auction can be found here."

I have to admit. I was curious and when I saw what it was going for my interest peaked, but it wasn’t until my friend told me I was an idiot for considering spending this kind of money on a poster with less than a minute left in the auction, that I decided that I must have the it.

But the real question is should I put my elbow through it?

From The Smoking Gun...

Steve Wynn's Bad Dream
Vegas mogul sues Lloyd's over $54 million damaged Picasso claim

JANUARY 11--Months after he accidentally poked a hole in a Picasso painting, casino magnate Steve Wynn today sued Lloyd's of London for failing to pay off a $54 million insurance claim. Wynn, who purchased the painting "Le Reve" for $48.4 million in 1997, contends that the painting was worth $139 million when, on September 30, he "accidentally placed a tear" in it while showing the work (pictured at right) to friends visiting his Las Vegas office. According to Wynn's U.S. District Court complaint, a copy of which you'll find below, the businessman contends that, as a result of the tear, the painting's value has plummeted to $85 million. He has demanded that Llloyd's pay him the difference in the appreciated value of the painting and its post-damage worth. The day before he punctured the painting, Wynn had entered into an agreement with hedge fund titan Steven Cohen to sell "Le Reve" for $139 million. That deal died after the damage was disclosed to Cohen. Included as an exhibit to Wynn's lawsuit is a "sworn statement in proof of loss" that likely made knees buckle at Lloyd's. (10 pages)


Andy Rose wrote to me and asked if I would like to buy the accompanying catalog from the Victor and Sally Ganz auction. It looks like his store, the Catalog Kid, is selling two versions – this one, and this one. I’m thinking about buying one, but I’m not really sure what I would do with it. Any ideas?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

My Le Reve

The Poster

The Nora Ephron connection

A great great story told by Nora Ephron. Apparently what happens in Vegas, Doesn’t always stay in Vegas…

My Weekend in Vegas

A couple of weekends ago, we went to Las Vegas. It was a small group of us who can never get enough Vegas. We stayed at The Wynn, where we always stay. We like the Wynn and we like Steve and Elaine Wynn, who own the Wynn, and we like the breakfast buffet at the Wynn, which is the greatest breakfast buffet in Las Vegas and therefore in the world. It's even better than the breakfast buffet at the Bellagio Hotel, which Steve Wynn used to own. The day you die and go to heaven, there will not be a breakfast buffet as good as the one at the Wynn.

We got there Friday night and went straight to dinner at the SW Restaurant, which is of course named after Steve Wynn. I'd never been there. It has a strip steak that I honestly thought was the finest steak of my life, and let me tell you, I eat a lot of steak. (This reminds me, someone at our table ordered a steak made of grass-fed beef, it was the second time I'd had grass-fed beef in less than a week, it's become a big trend, and may I say that someone should stamp out grass-fed beef because it has no taste whatsoever.) Anyway, while we were eating, Steve and Elaine Wynn stopped by the table. Wynn was in a very good mood because, he told us, he had just sold a Picasso for $139 million. I was surprised he'd sold it, because the Picasso in question was not just any old Picasso but the famous painting Le Reve, which used to hang in the museum at the Bellagio when Wynn owned it, and no question it was Wynn's favorite painting. He'd practically named his new hotel after it, but at some point in the course of construction he'd changed his mind and decided to name the hotel after himself, which, when you think of it, was a good idea, what with the homonym and all. Meanwhile, he named the Cirque de Soleil Show at the Wynn after Le Reve.

The buyer of the painting, Wynn told us, was a man named Steven Cohen. Everyone seemed to know who Steven Cohen was, a hedge fund billionaire who lived in Connecticut in a house with a fabulous art collection he had just recently amassed. "This is the most money ever paid for a painting," Steve Wynn said. The price was $4 million more than Ronald Lauder had recently paid for a Klimt. Oh, that Klimt. It had set a bar, no question of that, and Wynn was thrilled to have beaten it. He invited us to come see the painting before it moved to Connecticut, never to be seen again by anyone but people who know Steven Cohen.

The next day, after an excellent lunch at Chinois in the Forum Mall, which is the eighth wonder of the world, we all trooped back to our hotel to see the painting. We went into Wynn's office, which is just off the casino, past a waiting area with a group of fantastic Warhols, past a secretary's desk with a Matisse over it (a Matisse over a secretary's desk!) (and by the way a Renoir over another secretary's desk!) and into Wynn's office. There, on the wall, were two large Picassos, one of them Le Reve. Steve Wynn launched into a long story about the painting -- he told us that it was a painting of Picasso's mistress, Marie-Therese Walter, that it was extremely erotic, and that if you looked at it carefully (which I did, for the first time, although I'd seen it before at the Bellagio) you could see that the head of Marie-Therese was divided in two sections and that one of them was a penis. This was not a good moment for me vis a vis the painting. In fact, I would have to say that it made me pretty much think I wouldn't pay five dollars for it. Wynn went on to tell us about the provenance of the painting - who'd first bought it and who'd then bought it. This brought us to the famous Victor and Sally Ganz, a New York couple who are a sort of ongoing caution to the sorts of people who currently populate the art world, because the Ganzes managed to accumulate a spectacular art collection in a small New York apartment with no money at all. The Ganz collection went up for auction in 1997, Wynn was saying -- he was standing in front of the painting at this point, facing us. He raised his hand to show us something about the painting -- and at that moment, his elbow crashed backwards right through the canvas.

There was a terrible noise.

Wynn stepped away from the painting, and there, smack in the middle of Marie-Therese Walter's plump and allegedly-erotic forearm, was a black hole the size of a silver dollar - or, to be more exactly, the size of the tip of Steve Wynn's elbow -- with two three-inch long rips coming off it in either direction. Steve Wynn has retinitis pigmentosa, an eye disease that damages peripheral vision, but he could see quite clearly what had happened.

"Oh shit," he said. "Look what I've done."

The rest of us were speechless.

"Thank God it was me," he said.

For sure.

The word "money" was mentioned by someone, or perhaps it was the word "deal."

Wynn said: "This has nothing to do with money. The money means nothing to me. It's that I had this painting in my care and I've damaged it."

I felt that I was in a room where something very private had happened that I had no right to be at. I felt absolutely terrible.

At the same time I was holding my digital camera in my hand - I'd just taken several pictures of the Picasso - and I wanted to take a picture of the Picasso with the hole in it so badly that my camera was literally quivering. But I didn't see how I could take a picture - it seemed to me I'd witnessed a tragedy, and what's more, that my flash would go off if I did and give me away.

Steve Wynn picked up the phone and left a message for his art dealer. Then he called his wife Elaine. "You'll never believe what I just did," he said to her. From where we stood, on the other end of the phone call, Elaine seemed to take the news calmly and did not yell at her husband. This was particularly impressive to my own husband. There was a conversation about whether the painting could be restored - Wynn seemed to think it could be - and of the two people in America who were capable of restoring it. We all promised we would keep the story quiet - not, you understand, to cover it up, but to make sure that Wynn was able to deal with the episode as he wished to until it came out. We all knew it would come out eventually. It would have to. There were too many of us in the room, plus all the people in the art world who were eventually going to hear about it.

Meanwhile, we were not going to tell anyone.

We promised.

I promised.

That night we went to dinner, once again at SW because that's how great it is, it's worth going to two nights in a row. They were serving creamed corn with truffles, which was amazing. Once again the Wynns joined us. They were in a terrifically jolly mood, all things considered, and Wynn told us that he planned to tell Steve Cohen the next day that of course Cohen was released from the deal because the painting had been damaged.

After dinner I threw eight or nine passes at the craps table, one of which included a hard ten.

The next day one of my sons came to meet us in Las Vegas, and we went to Joe's Stone Crab, which is excellent, and where the key lime pie may be even better than the key lime pie at Joe's Stone Crab in Miami Beach, if such a thing is possible. I told my son the story of what had happened to the painting, but it didn't really count because my son is completely trustworthy.

Nine days passed and I told no one else. It was the most painful experience of my life. But I felt good, too, because, as I say, I knew the story would come out eventually and when it did, I didn't want it to be my fault. And the story did come out.. Ten days after Wynn put his elbow through the painting, there was an item about it on Page Six of the New York Post. It was very clear who had given Page Six the item, and it wasn't me. I was thrilled that I had managed to keep the story (more or less) to myself and celebrated by calling several friends and telling them my version of what had happened.

Two days later, I got a call from a reporter at the New Yorker who said he was going to write a piece about the episode. I still didn't feel comfortable discussing the event, but I called Elaine Wynn and told her the New Yorker was going to write a story and that Steve should call the reporter back and tell him about it, since no question the story was out there.

Elaine told me that she was glad I'd called because she had awakened that morning with the realization that Steve's putting his elbow through the painting had been a sign that they were meant to keep the painting. So they were going to.

Now, in today's New Yorker, there's a very charming piece about the incident, and as far as I'm concerned I am entirely released from my vow of silence on the matter.

So there it is.

My weekend in Vegas.

- Nora Ephron