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Il sogno (The Dream) by Picasso

Il sogno (The Dream) by Picasso
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Le Rêve (The Dream in French) is a 1932 oil painting (130 × 97 cm) by Pablo Picasso, then 50 years old, portraying his 24-year-old mistressMarie-Thérèse Walter. It is said to have been painted in one afternoon, on January 24, 1932. It belongs to Picasso's period of distorted depictions, with its oversimplified outlines and contrasted colors resembling early Fauvism.

The erotic content of the painting has been noted repeatedly, with critics pointing out that Picasso painted an erect penis, presumably symbolizing his own, in the upturned face of his model.


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 on November 11, 1997. Le Rêve sold for an unexpectedly high $48.4 million, at the time the sixth most expensive painting sold (tenth when taking inflation into account). 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 appears to have been the Austrian-born investment fund manager Wolfgang Flöttl, who also briefly held Van Gogh's Portrait of Dr. Gachet in possession in the late 1990s. In 2001, under severe financial pressure, he sold Le Rêve to casino magnate Steve Wynn for an undisclosed sum, estimated to be about $60 million.

[edit]Wynn incident

The painting was the centerpiece of Wynn’s collection and he had considered naming his Wynn Las Vegas resort after it. Nevertheless, in October 2006, Wynn told a group of reporter and columnist friends, including Barbara Walters, Nora Ephron and Nicholas Pileggi, that he had agreed the day before to sell Le Rêve for $139 million to Steven A. Cohen. At the time, this price would have made Le Rêve the most expensive piece of art ever. While Wynn was showing the painting to his friends, apparently about to reveal the now still officially undisclosed previous owner (see above), he put his elbow through the canvas, puncturing it in the left forearm of the figure and creating a six-inch tear[4]. Ephron offered as an explanation that Wynn uses wild gestures while speaking and has retinitis pigmentosa, which affects his peripheral vision. Later, Wynn said that he took the event as a sign not to sell the painting.

After a $90,000 repair, the painting was evaluated to be worth $85 million. Wynn proceeded to claim the $54 million difference with the virtual selling price from his Lloyd's of Londoninsurers, which would have paid for (most of) the cost of buying the painting in the first place. When the insurers balked, Wynn sued them in January 2007. The case was eventually settled out of court in March 2007

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