While many have attached a dollar amount to artworks such as Picasso‘s Le Marin, their true value is intangible. Priceless, even. Unfortunately for one contractor, however, the damage they’ve dealt to this same Picasso painting is very much tangible. At least according to Steadfast Insurance Co.
The contractor was hired through a commercial painting business to give Christie’s galleries a once over ahead of an upcoming exhibition. By sheer bad luck/cosmic misfortune/simple incompetence or a combination of all three, the contractor left an extension rod for a paint roller up against the wall.
As the extension rod was not properly secured, it eventually fell right into the 1943 cultural relic, thereby tearing a 4.5-inch hole (11.43 cm) in the canvas. Christie’s reimbursed the art collector of whom Le Marin belonged to – Steve Wynn – and Steadfast Insurance Co. reimbursed Christie’s.
You’d think this entire ordeal would be done and dusted. Only now, Steadfast is suing for US$18.4 million due to “negligent and/or careless acts” performed without reasonable care. Christie’s itself spent US$487,625 repairing Le Marin, but the lawsuit is claiming it has lowered its value by some 20% “… given the extent of the physical damage…”, in addition to the “reputational damage” the organisations have faced. Hence US$18.4 million. Either way, this isn’t one where you can smooth over by taking it out of the old weekly wages.
And you thought your week was rough.