The Guardian has more from the Panama Papers revealing that financier Joe Lewis–then the largest shareholder in a public Christie’s–gave the Ganz heirs a guarantee on their epochal $208m sale:
What nobody in the audience at Christie’s on that frosty November evening realised was that the Women of Algiers, along with many of the other paintings in the auction, had already been sold by the Ganz family.
In a secret deal six months earlier, an offshore company whose bank account was controlled by the secretive billionaire currency trader Joe Lewis had bought all of the most valuable works. On the same day, it had contracted to auction them at Christie’s, to be marketed as the Ganz collection.
It appeared Lewis had taken a $168m gamble that the art market was ready for liftoff. It would eventually pay off in multiple ways.
How Offshore Firm Helped Billionaire Change the Art World Forever (The Guardian/ICIJ)