Leon Black now owns disputed Picasso sculpture

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The international legal drama involving Gagosian Gallery, the New York billionaire Leon Black, the Qatari royal family and a plaster bust of Picasso’s mistress, Marie-Therese Walter, dating back to 1931, has been resolved behind closed doors. Black and the Qatari royal family both claimed ownership of the work, but the parties have agreed that Black will now keep it, while the other party will receive undisclosed financial compensation. The dealer Larry Gagosian says he bought the sculpture in 2015 for around $106m from Picasso’s daughter, Maya Widmaier-Picasso, with the intention of reselling it to Black. Pelham Holdings, the agent for the Qatari royal family run by former Christie’s staffer Guy Bennett, claimed that it agreed to buy the work for $42m back in 2014. Court papers show that Widmaier-Picasso reconsidered the first offer in light of the second.

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