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The Casino Mogul Who's also One of the World's Leading Art Collectors

Even if you’ve never heard of Steve Wynn you’re probably familiar with the name Wynn Resorts. The huge casino and leisure empire that he built up, and has subsequently sold, stretches all the way from Las Vegas to Macau in the Far East.

Like many very rich individuals, Wynn has a taste for the finer things in life and that includes an art collection worth many hundreds of millions of dollars. But where Wynn been different to many collectors who lock their precious pieces of art away in high-security vaults or hang them in their palatial homes, Wynn has used many of them to adorn his casinos around the world.

For example, a visit to the luxurious Wynn Palace in Macau will find you surrounded by an exceptional collection of both Asian and Western art which includes many fine examples of early Chinoiserie as well as a number of exceptionally ornate 18th century Buccleuch vases. There’s also a series of exquisite French tapestries depicting scenes from typical Chinese life also from the 18th century.

While these are unlikely to create a big enough draw to encourage the many fans of the wide collection of casino and slot games at to make the journey to Macau, they’re impressive all the same. That’s not to say that online casino fans can’t enjoy some impressive artwork and history too as slots games, in particular, often feature themes from ancient civilisations and distinctive graphical styles too.

Over the years Wynn’s art collecting has also hit the headlines on many occasions. For example, when he bought Vermeer’s A Young Woman Seated at a Virginal in a Sotheby’s auction for $30 million he became the first collector in 80 years to acquire one of the artist’s works. In addition, he became only one of two individual collectors in the world to own a Vermeer, the other being Queen Elizabeth II.

His taste is wide-ranging, as he demonstrated in 2006 when he was the successful anonymous bidder for Giudecca, La Donna Della Salute and San Giorgio, a J.M.W. Turner piece, setting him back $35.8 million. On a more contemporary note, he’s also a major collector of the works of Jeff Koons whose dramatic sculptures he has subsequently put on display in both Vegas and Macau.

One of the more unfortunate incidents in his collecting life came with his attempts to sell one of his many paintings by Picasso, Le Rêve. In 2006 he was in advanced negotiations with another collector to sell it for $139 million. However, when showing off the painting to friends he somehow managed to put his elbow through the canvas. The sale was canceled and the repairs cost $90,000. The story had a happy ending though – in 2013 the sale did go through, for a reported $155 million.

Proof, if any were needed, that in the art market sometimes it really can work to your advantage if you can afford to bide your time.

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