Archive for Sunday, May 11, 2003

Las Vegas casino magnate buys Cezanne, Renoir works

May 11, 2003


— A self-portrait by Cezanne that has not been publicly displayed for more than six decades was sold at an auction to Las Vegas casino mogul Stephen A. Wynn a day after he nabbed a Renoir at another auction.

Cezanne's painting, the artist's only self-portrait still in private hands, went for $17.3 million, the highest price Wednesday at Christie's sale of impressionist and modern art.

"It's not just a depiction of him as an artist, it's more of a psychological portrayal of him -- his difficult and somewhat turbulent character," said Christopher Eykyn, director of the Impressionist and Modern Art Department at Christie's.

Wynn paid $23.5 million for Renoir's "In the Roses (Madame Leon Clapisson)" at a Sotheby auction on Tuesday. His purchase price includes the auction house commission of 20 percent on the first $100,000, and 12 percent for the remainder of the bid price.

For the Christie's sale, the casino king sat in a skybox above the salesroom, bidding by telephone. The pre-sale estimate for the Cezanne was $15 million to $20 million. The final price includes Christie's commission of 19.5 percent on the first $100,000, and 12 percent on the rest.

The Cezanne and Renoir are to be publicly displayed in Las Vegas as part of the Wynn Collection.

Wynn is former head of Mirage Resorts, which owned the Bellagio, Mirage and Golden Nugget casinos in Las Vegas before Mirage was bought by MGM Grand in 2000.

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