About Steve Wynn

Steve Wynn is an American entrepreneur, philanthropist, art collector, and visionary credited with transforming the Las Vegas Strip into an international destination. While he is known as an iconic businessman and developer, Wynn’s driving force is a deep passion for beautiful art, whether it be paintings, sculptures, design, or even artistic performances. Wynn channeled this passion into creating many of the grand attractions and landmarks that dot The Strip today.

The Early Years

In 1952, at 10 years old, Steve Wynn caught his first glimpse of Las Vegas on a visit with his father. Thus began Wynn’s whirlwind romance with the area and all of its possibility. While his father was enamored with gaming, Wynn was most enchanted by the visual experience of The Strip — the flash, the lights, and the vibrant energy it radiated. He also saw opportunity.

Transforming Las Vegas Through Art

Steve Wynn has always been captivated by visually enticing things. With an intrinsic understanding of art and design’s ability to stimulate the human mind, Wynn dedicated himself to creating a legacy of hotels and resorts that would elevate his guests’ experience and spark their emotions.
One of his first ventures was the Golden Nugget Casino, which featured 31 Alaskan gold nuggets strewn across the hotel. Reflective of the casino’s name, the pieces themselves served as their own attraction, drawing visitors to a dazzling collection that couldn’t be found anywhere else. In the evenings, dinner guests indulged their senses in the smooth sounds of Frank Sinatra, who headlined the cabaret.
In 1989, Wynn built his first ornate resort named The Mirage. The Mirage’s appeal was overt visual excitement. Its entrance dawned an extraordinary volcano that erupted each night in a spectacular display. Visitors were captivated by performances of Cirque du Soleil and Siegfried and Roy. Several years later, Wynn built Treasure Island, which featured a massive pirate ship in a large man-made lagoon. Guests were invited aboard the ship for treasure hunting adventures while passersby were delighted by nightly pirate performances that lit up the sky.

An Artistic Turning Point

At the time of its construction in 1996, the Bellagio was the most expensive hotel in the world. Clocking in at $1.1 billion dollars, Wynn’s masterpiece of a resort illuminated the strip and exuded pure elegance. He aimed to provide Bellagio guests with a first-class experience that was a stark contrast to the vapid, seedy ambiance of Vegas he recalled as a child. This experience would be luxurious, classy, and cultured, with boundless high-end boutiques, extravagant entertainment options, and awe-inspiring artwork. Wynn believed that art would permanently alter the legacy of Las Vegas.
The Bellagio, in and of itself, was a work of art. It became known for offering sensational entertainment like the Fountains of Bellagio. This mystifying water show takes place daily in front of the hotel and is open to the public, not just guests. Visitors indulge in luxe fashion from the world’s most iconic brands, dine at five-star restaurants, and play for high stakes. The greatest high-end experience the Bellagio had to offer, however, was (and still is) its art gallery.
The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art marked the first time Wynn gave explicit attention to his love of sophisticated art. While art had always been a focus point for him in crafting the intended guest experience in his resorts, this gallery displayed Wynn’s personal collection of art produced by some of the most notable artists in contemporary and modern art. A painting or sculpture spoke volumes, projecting messages that impacted the mind and soul of those who viewed it. Wynn wanted to make this experience accessible for everyone, not just those who could afford to personally own fine art. This is why the elegance of the gallery space was at the heart of Bellagio’s concept. Wynn spent hundreds of millions of dollars to bring the enchantment of Renoir and Monet, the delicacy of Degas, and inspiring vibrancy of Warhol to the Bellagio experience.
In the early 2000s, Wynn reinvented himself yet again with the opening of the Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Las Vegas. After selling Mirage resorts to MGM in 2000, he saw this as an opportunity to infuse his love of art into the design of these new ventures.
A lover of Picasso, Wynn initially planned on naming his Wynn Las Vegas resort “Le Rêve” (French for “the dream”) after the painter’s notable piece that Wynn owned. Wynn amassed a curated collection of fine art just for the hotel, including a $23.5 million dollar Renoir titled “In The Roses.” He later placed Jeff Koons’ striking sculpture, “Tulips,” at the rotunda where the Wynn and Encore resorts meet. The stainless steel creation, depicting exuberant multicolored balloon tulips delicately wrapped around one another in a bouquet, serves as a sought-out attraction for the resort.
Wynn has masterfully used art, in its many forms, as a means of attracting and enticing guests throughout his career, and the Las Vegas Strip is his greatest exhibit. The crown jewel of this exhibit was the Bellagio.

Wynn Fine Art

Having applied his passion for fine art as his choice medium in painting the Las Vegas Strip with grandeur, Wynn asserted his presence as a stakeholder in the art collecting industry. No longer was The Strip merely a destination for gambling; it was now the pinnacle of refinement and sophistication. Upon retiring from the hotel industry in 2018, Wynn moved his expansive collection of fine modern and contemporary art to Wynn Fine Art, his professional gallery.
The galleries span from California to Florida, and feature some of the most idolized artists of the twenty-first century. Wynn has always shown his art to potential buyers — famously poking his elbow through Picasso’s “Le Rêve” by accident while showing it to a guest — but the space has allowed him a venue to interact with fellow art aficionados on a new level.