So on what does the value of a painting depend if it can be so reduced by a mere hole? The reputation of the artist? His or her stock market rating or investment potential? Or the intrinsic worth of the work itself? Which might even depend upon being damaged... Lucio Fontana's razored canvases would be worth nothing without those slashes. Nor Gustav Metzger's torched paintings.Read more or state your own opinion in the Guardian blogs.
The case of the silver-dollar-sized hole, as Wynn has described it, is utterly baffling. It is incredible to think that the experts, who include the restorer himself, actually believe the painting to be worth so many millions less because there has been some interference with the surface of the canvas. What can one conclude? That intrinsic worth can be compromised by extrinsic damage? That the restorer, et al, have got some very odd ideas? That Wynn is taking the mickey?
A £28m hole?
With art restoration down to, well, a rather precise science, how can you measure the value of art that has been repaired to near perfection? Steve Wynn is finding that the hole he knocked into his Picasso substantially knocked down the value of the painting according to his insurers. But the damage to a work of art becomes part of the art, doesn't it?