Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sharp Elbow Grease

Or, perhaps balm, to the tune of $30 million:
When businessman Steve Wynn put his elbow through the canvas of a £70 million Picasso, he could hardly have imagined the mishap would reap him millions of pounds.

The blunder caused the cancellation of the painting's imminent sale and the downgrading of its value to £42.5million by insurers.

But Mr Wynn took an enormous gamble - he is the owner of two Las Vegas hotels - and sued Lloyd's of London for £26million, the amount the insurer had wiped off it value.

Now, not only is the restored Picasso back to its original value, but Mr Wynn received an estimated £15million from Lloyd's, according to sources.

Lloyd's had said Picasso's The Dream, or Le Reve, was only worth £42.5m after the accident in September 2006.

Mr Wynn, who suffers from an eye condition that affects his peripheral vision, accidentally poked his elbow into the canvas. According to reports there was a two inch gash in the painting.

The case was heard before the US District Court in Manhattan and the two parties reached a settlement with sources saying Mr Wynn was paid £15million.

"It was a good thing for Steve... put your elbow in a painting and make millions", a source close to the American tycoon said.

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