Credit 2016 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Picasso Sculpture in Dispute Goes to Leon Black.. Rival Owner to Receive Compensation
The collector Leon Black is the legal victor in a dispute over the ownership of a famed Picasso sculpture and will take possession of it.
On Wednesday, the parties who had been fighting over the plaster bust of the artist’s muse (and mistress) Marie-Thérèse Walter, announced that they had agreed that Mr. Black would get to keep the work, “Bust of a Woman,” and a rival owner, representing the Qatari royal family, would receive financial compensation of an undisclosed amount.
“We are pleased that the dispute” has been settled “and Mr. Black will receive his sculpture,” a spokesperson for the gallery said in a statement. “Today’s settlement shows without question that Gagosian Gallery purchased and sold this sculpture in good faith.”
A settlement had been announced in May, but the court did not disclose any details regarding who would keep the sculpture.
In a legal action filed in January against the Qatari family’s agent, Mr. Gagosian said that he had bought the 1931 sculpture in May 2015 for about $106 million from Picasso’s daughter Maya Widmaier-Picasso, and then sold it to Mr. Black, who expected to receive it after the closing of the Museum of Modern Art’s acclaimed “Picasso Sculpture” show — in which the piece was featured — on Feb. 7.
But Pelham Holdings, the agent for the Qatari family, run by Guy Bennett, maintained in its own court documents that it had secured an agreement with Ms. Widmaier-Picasso to buy the work in November 2014 for 38 million euros, or about $42 million, on behalf of Sheikh Jassim bin Abdulaziz al-Thani, who is married to Sheikha al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, chairwoman of the Qatar Museums Authority.
The seller, in both cases, was Ms. Widmaier-Picasso, 80, who apparently sold the artwork twice.
In a joint statement, the parties said: “Pelham Europe Ltd, Maya Widmaier-Ruiz Picasso, Diana Widmaier Picasso, Gagosian Gallery Inc., Lawrence Gagosian, Leon Black and Seydoux & Associés Fine Art SA are pleased to report that the parties have reached a good faith global settlement resolving all matters and actions relating to Pablo Picasso’s ‘Buste de Femme (Marie Thérèse),’ Boisgeloup, 1931.”