UNDATED (CNN) -- A famous painting owned by Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn has been reportedly sold for a record price. And the most intriguing part is the painting was accidentally damaged!
This is the tale of an art sale between two giants. Although there's still some mystery surrounding it, it's widely believed casino king Steve Wynn has sold one of Picasso's most famous paintings to hedge fund king Steve Cohen for a record $155 million.
That's the most an U.S. collector has ever paid for a piece of art.
It's a painting of Picasso's longtime mistress, Marie-Therese Walter, the title is "Le Reve", French for "The Dream". Amy Cappellazzo, chairman of Post-war Contemporary Art at Christie's Auction House says, "It is an extremely famous Picasso from one of his most celebrated periods, 1932. It's a picture of possession, of passion, of love."
But the dream is not without its flaw. Wynn originally agreed to sell Cohen the picture back in 2006. But just a day after the deal was done, Wynn famously put his elbow through it, creating a six-inch tear. He says, "I turned to the right and caught it- her-right on the arm and poked a hole in the picture the size of the end of my thumb. We stood there in shock. I can't believe I've done it. Oh no. Oh no."
The restoration took months. But Cohen wanted it anyway and ultimately paid $16 million more for it, post tear. Beverly Schreiber Jacoby, president of BSJ Fine Art says, "We stood there looking for it and it's infinitesimal. It was so well restored."
The reporter says, "I think people are sort-of still sort-of fixated on that the fact that there is damage." Cappellazzo responds, "It's interesting. It's very cinematic to think of someone putting an elbow through a painting. If I were the age of 'Le Reve', I would probably have some things wrong with me, too."
It's not just the price and the tear, the timing of the sale is what's getting so much attention. It comes just as Cohen's hedge fund, SAC Capital, settles two insider trading lawsuits, paying the federal government a record $616 million.
The headlines: Cohen settles wrongdoing, buys himself an extravagant gift: a masterpiece.
Why would anyone pay upwards of $155 million for a single piece of art? Even one that was so famously damaged? Art experts say that's because the very best of the best will appreciate it the most. One likened it to buying a penthouse versus a second-floor apartment. The house on top will always go for more.
A masterpiece is a masterpiece, "Le Reve" will always hold its place in history and will have its own place in Cohen's $1 billion art collection, until he decides to sell it for what could be another record price.
"La Reve" was painted in 1932.