Steven Cohen the 56-year old founder of SAC Capital, has purchased the damaged painting “Le Reve” by Pablo Picasso for a record $155m ( £102.5m) The portrait is a depiction of the Cubist master’s mistress Marie-Therese Walter.The painting sets a record for the highest price paid by a U.S. collector for any artwork. It was purchased from the casino owner Steve Wynn, who had an accident, falling into the work and ripping a large gaping hole in the portrait, with his elbow.
Picasso was 45 years old when he met his young mistress by chance in 1927, when she was leaving the Paris subway. Marie-Therese was 17 at the time, and remained the artist’s lover from 1927 to 1938, while he was still married to Russian dancer, Olga Khokhlova who refused to divorce him on the grounds that he was unwilling to split his wealth with her. Picasso created a number of portraits of his muse during this period.
In February this year another portrait by Picasso’s of Marie-Therese Walter, was sold at Sotheby’s London for £28.6m. Painted in 1932 the work titled, “Femme Assise Pres d’une Fenetre” (Woman Sitting Near a Window), was considered by Sotheby’s to be the highlight of the sale. Whether or not the Sotheby’s canvas was worth $100m more than the Wynn canvas is debateable most of the canvases from this period of Picasso’s output are considered by experts to be second rate.
Photo: © Courtesy Christies