Picasso $100m Family Dispute Moves In Favour Of Billionaire Leon Black

Picasso bust

A dispute involving Pablo Picasso’s family, over the 1931 “Buste de Femme (Marie-Therese),” has been settled out of court. The sculpture valued at more than $100 million has moved in favour of New York billionaire, Leon Black, forcing the Picasso family to pay the Qatari royal family agents an undisclosed sum. 

The Picasso’s heirs now must pay London-based agent, Pelham Europe, who initially negotiated to buy the sculpture for $47 million on behalf of their Qatari clients. The Picasso family member reneged on the deal to sell the sculpture to Qatar but instead sold it to New York art dealer Larry Gagosian. The Gagosian Gallery then sold it to billionaire Leon Black for an undisclosed sum. The legal dispute involved courts in France, Switzerland and the United States, exposing a damaging breakdown in communications and bitter rivalry among the descendants of the 20th century master. The sculpture was last seen in public at New York’s Museum of Modern Art earlier this year. 

In a joint statement the parties said, they were “pleased” to have reached “a good faith global settlement” resolving the dispute in all courts for good.  The Gagosian Gallery said the settlement was “a complete vindication” of its position and that Black would now receive his sculpture.  “The Gagosian Gallery purchased and sold this sculpture in good faith and without any knowledge of Picasso and Pelham’s prior dealings, as we have said all along,” it said in a statement. The agents’ lawyers confirmed Wednesday that Maya Widmaier-Ruiz Picasso, Picasso’s daughter whose mother is depicted in the sculpture, had settled. 


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