Le Rêve (The Dream in French) (1932) is an abstract painting by Pablo Picasso portraying his mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter.
Le Rêve was purchased for $7,000 in 1941 by Victor and Sally Ganz of New York City. This purchase began their 50-year collection of works by just five artists: Picasso, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and Eva Hesse. After the Ganzes died (Victor in 1987 and Sally in 1997), their collection, including Le Rêve, was sold at Christie's auction house in November, 1997. Le Rêve sold for $48.4 million, setting a record for the second most expensive painting ever sold. The entire collection set a record for the sale of a private collection, bringing $206.5 million. That number is especially impressive considering that the total amount paid by the Ganzes over their lifetime of collecting these pieces was only around $2 million.
The buyer who purchased Le Rêve at Christie's in 1997 remained anonymous, but sold it to casino magnate Steve Wynn in 2001 for an undisclosed sum.
The painting was damaged in October 2006 when Wynn accidentally put his elbow through the canvas of the painting, creating a six-inch tear. The painting was hanging in his office at the Wynn Las Vegas resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, and he was showing it to Nora Ephron and several others. Wynn suffers from a genetic eye disease, retinitis pigmentosa, which severely constricts his peripheral vision.
Before the incident, Wynn had agreed to sell Le Rêve for $139 million to Steven A. Cohen, which would have made it the most expensive painting of all time. Wynn later took the fateful event as a sign not to sell the painting. Immediately after the accident, Wynn asked those present to refrain from discussing what happened; he wanted time to contact the potential buyer and find out if and how the painting could be repaired. The secret was kept for nine days, until the story showed up in the "Page Six" column of The New York Post. Ephron blogged that she was proud of herself for keeping the secret.