An Italian manager, Roberto Cassago, is a tad embarrassed after an accident that would befit Mr. Bean. He is facing repair costs to an 18th Century Italian painting after he blew a hole through the canvas with the cork of a bottle of sparkling wine. Fittingly enough, it was a painting depicting a battle with knights and their chargers but the addition of the cork missile to the battle scene was a historical as well as an artistic invasion.
Cassago was at a party at the Palazzo Isimbardi, which houses Milan’s provincial government. He is now looking at damages that will exceed 1,000 euros if insurance for the council does not pay cover it.
It makes for an interesting question of negligence. Sparkling wine bottles and corks are designed to satisfy the desire of drinkers for a “pop” and flying cork. However, people are expected to take care in the launching despite a general failure to do so according to American Academy of Ophthalmology which launches an educational campaign on champagne every year. Legally, he is on the hook for the damage though the city council appears to be treating this as a matter for its insurance company.
To make it even more unfortunate, he was only invited to the party because he was passing by the door and called in by friends. He was then invited to open a bottle of the bubbly. Not only that, he is about to retire. Hopefully, his goodbye party at the Palazzo Isimbardi will be confined to a Sangiovese.
He should not feel badly however. You may recall that Steven Wynn was at an event to sell the “Le Reve,” a portrait of Picasso’s mistress Marie-Therese Walter. While addressing the crowd in front of the new owner, Wynn (who suffers from vision problems) gestured from the painting and put his elbow through it. The sale was called of. The damage was estimated at $45 million.
Wynn bought the painting for $48 million in 1977. Ironically, he sold the painting in 2013 to the original purchaser from the accident, Steven Cohen, who runs S.A.C. Capital, for $145 million. That is $16 million more than it was going for back in 2006 at the end of the elbowing.