Remember a few years back when casino mogul Steve Wynn punched a hole through a Picasso masterpiece with his elbow? Hedge fund manager Steven Cohen just bought it for $155 million, which is $16 million more than he agreed to pay in 2006, before that deal was scuttled by Wynn's accidental flail.
Maybe she will keep Stevie company in prison.
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, as a means of settling their inheritance tax bill. 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. The total amount paid by the Ganzes over their lifetime of collecting these pieces was 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 financial pressure, he sold Le Rêve to casino magnate Steve Wynn for an undisclosed sum, estimated to be about $60 million. 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, he put his elbow through the canvas, puncturing it in the left forearm of the figure and creating a six-inch tear. 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 re-valued at $85 million. Wynn proceeded to claim the $54 million difference with the virtual selling price from his Lloyd's of London insurers, 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.
"Mathew Martoma and his hedge fund benefitted from what might be the most lucrative insider tip of all time."
Martoma worked for SAC's Stevie Cohen.
Over the last half-decade, as federal authorities secured dozens of insider trading convictions against hedge fund traders, they have tried doggedly to build a case against one of Wall Street’s most influential players: the billionaire stock picker Steven Cohen.
On Tuesday, the government appeared to inch closer to that goal. Prosecutors brought charges against a former portfolio manager at the hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors in a case that for the first time directly involves Mr. Cohen, the fund’s founder.