The man who got tired of his Vermeer

October 29th, 2008

While no one expected Las Vegas resort developer Steve Wynn to hold his Vermeer forever, he seems to have become disenchanted with the thought of being the only private holder of a genuine painting by Johannes Vermeer after only four years. The Las Vegas Review-Journal has it that Wynn recently sold the Young Woman Seated at the Virginals painting purchased four years ago for the sum of $30 million. Neither the new selling price nor the identity of the buyer is known.

After languishing in limbo for years, a team of leading specialists proposed it as a secure addition to Vermeer’s limited oeuvre after 10 years of extensive research. Wynn snapped it up at Sothebey’s and soon after displayed it in the now defunct Wynn Las Vegas Gallery. It then adorned his personal office. Recently it resurfaced at the Vermeer and the Delft Style exhibition in Tokyo on view until December 14, 2008.

Since its rehabilitation as an authentic Vermeer, almost no one has come forward publicly to cast doubts on the work’s authenticity even though the general consensus seems to comment negatively on its artistic merit. See my take.

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