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November 26, 2014

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7 of Steve Wynn’s most notable art purchases

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Justin M. Bowen

Steve Wynn meets with the media in a villa at Wynn Las Vegas on Wednesday, April 27, 2011. Several of the pieces from Wynn’s extensive art collection can be found at his current and former resorts. His company announced Friday that Wynn recently purchased four ancient Chinese vases for a total of $12.8 million for his new resort in Macau.

Casino magnate Steve Wynn has purchased four 18th century Chinese porcelain vases at a London auction for $12.8 million to adorn his new Cotai Resort Hotel in Macau. It’s just the latest in his string of art purchases that have distinguished him as a bona fide art collector. Here are some examples of his taste in fine art:

    • Fiori di Como

      “Fiori di Como” — rumored to be upward of $40 million

      The Bellagio lobby is spectacular. Much of the ceiling is covered by the world’s largest glass sculpture, created by Seattle artist Dale Chihuly. It consists of 2,000 pieces of handblown glass flowers.

    • Peasant Woman Against a Background of Wheat

      “Peasant Woman Against a Background of Wheat” — $47.5 million

      Painted in June 1890, by Vincent Van Gogh, it shows a young woman in a yellow bonnet, sitting in front of the sort of wheat stalks Van Gogh went out among weeks later to shoot himself. Wynn, who bid on the painting at auction in 1997, privately acquired the work several months later from the unidentified buyer for an undisclosed, supposedly lower price. Kenneth Griffin acquired it in 2004 from Wynn.

    • La Reve

      “Le Reve,” French for “The Dream” — approximately $60 million

      This 1932 painting by Pablo Picasso is of his much younger mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter. Wynn acquired the painting in 2001 from investment fund manager Wolfgang Flöttl for an undisclosed amount, estimated to be about $60 million.

      Wynn liked the painting so much, he once considered naming his resort, Wynn Las Vegas, after it. In 2006 he planned to sell it to Steven Cohen for $139 million, which would have been the highest price paid for any piece of art. But that fell through after he put his elbow through the canvas while showing it to guests.

      After a $90,000 repair, the painting was estimated to be worth $85 million. Wynn sued his insurance company over the $54 million difference with the virtual selling price, possibly exceeding his own buying price. The case was settled out of court in April 2007.

    • Giudecca, La Donna Della Salute and San Giorgio

      J.M.W. Turner’s “Giudecca, La Donna Della Salute and San Giorgio” — $35.8 million

      This work was sold to a mystery telephone bidder at Christie’s auction house in New York for $35.8 million. People familiar with the transaction, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the buyer was Wynn.

    • Dancer Taking her Bow

      “Dancer Taking her Bow” for $12 million

      This piece was acquired by Mirage Resorts in 1997, according to the company’s 1997 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Wynn purchased the Edgar Degas painting from the resort in 1998, to display at the Bellagio.

    • Ming Dynasty Vase

      Ming Dynasty vase — $10 million

      In May 2006, Wynn set a world record for Ming porcelain when he purchased a rare underglaze copper-red Ming Dynasty vase for $10 million. The vase, dated to 1368-1644, was displayed in the VIP wing at the opening of Wynn Macau and then donated to the Macau government.

    • Young Woman Seated at a Virginal

      “Young Woman Seated at a Virginal” — $30 million

      The painting by Johannes Vermeer was sold to Wynn for $30 million at a Sotheby’s auction in 2004. It was the first Vermeer painting to come on the market in more than 80 years. Wynn later sold the painting to a private buyer for the same price he purchased it for.

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    1. And Mr. Wynn thanks all his customers for dropping their hard earned quarters into his slots and says with a smile "Please come back soon, sucker."

    2. Mr. Wynn employees thousands of people in Las Vegas and around the world. He has spent Billions of Dollars building in Las Vegas over the years.

      His money, he can do what he wants with it. I don't see Mr. Wynn telling any of you how to spend your money.

      You don't like him, don't spend your money in his place. Really pretty simple. Millions of others don't seem to mind the great service and Hotels he offers.

    3. He used to display he art collection to the public. Now it is only for his own viewing pleasure. Too bad. I'd love to see it again.

    4. I think it is fantastic Mr. Wynn puts up the money for these pieces of art, in many cases display to the public for free. Many whine about how rich someone is but you need these people to support the arts and culture from time. Without their money much history would be lost in time. I am not a big fan of art nor rich but I do see the place they provide for all the public to enjoy.

    5. Allaroundtown,

      Some of Wynn's art is on public display.