Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Pass the sellotape

A US casino mogul has pulled out of a deal to sell his Picasso painting for a record $139m (£74m) after accidentally elbowing a hole in the middle.

Las Vegas magnate Steve Wynn was showing Le Reve (The Dream) to guests at his office in Las Vegas last month. Mr Wynn, who has retinitis pigmentosa, an eye disease affecting peripheral vision, tore a coin-sized hole.

He will now keep the painting, which he bought in 1997 for $48.4m, and repair it, his spokeswoman said.

…Mr Wynn, known for gesturing with hands while speaking, was showing the painting at his office at Wynn Las Vegas when he struck it with his right elbow, spokeswoman Denise Randazzo said.

Director and screenwriter Nora Ephron was at the incident and wrote about it on a blog site. She said Mr Wynn raised his hand then "at that moment, his elbow crashed backward right through the canvas. There was a terrible noise".

"Smack in the middle... was a black hole the size of a silver dollar. 'Look what I've done' he said. 'Thank goodness it was me.'"

The innate goodness of a man whose first thought after such an incident is “Thank goodness it was me” precludes any sarky comment I may have been contemplating.

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