Le Reve by Pablo Picasso has had quite the adventure since its creation. Created in 1932, this work was originally part of the collection of Victor and Sally Ganz who purchased the work in 1941 for $7,000. Put up for auction by the family in 1997, this work sold for $48 million to casino magnate Steve Wynn.
Almost a decade later in 2006, Wynn made the unfortunate accident of putting his elbow through the work. Now seven years later, fully restored, Wynn has sold the piece for a record $155 million to Steven Cohen the founder of SAC Capital. Cohen, along with Wynn, is one of the world’s biggest art collectors, with works by Van Gogh, Manet, de Kooning, Picasso, Cezanne, Warhol, Johns and Richter.
So what makes this piece so valuable? The first is the impeccable provenance and the second is the historical aspect of the work. A portrait of Picasso’s famed muse Marie-Therese Walter, this work was created during their romance. Married and 45, Picasso spotted Walter in 1927 on a Paris street when she was 17. She would be the artist’s greatest love for the next decade, inspiring numerous paintings and sculptures.
The Marie-Therese period hasn’t always been considered Picasso’s finest hour in the art market as only his paintings from 1932 seem to hit it big. This can be seen with Le Reve’s auction in 1997, and in 2010 when Nude, Green Leaves and Bust sold for $106.5 million. La Lecture then went for $40.5 million in 2011 and Femme assise pres d’une fenetre sold for $45 million in February this year. So one can only assume that Cohen got a good investment, restoration and all.
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