Katya Kazakina has the details from a countersuit being filed against Gagosian and Leon Black in the sale of Maya Widmaier Picasso’s sculpture now on view at MoMA for a few last days. From the complaint, the conflict comes into clearer view.
The Al-Thanis, through their representative Guy Bennett, made a very savvy deal for the work by approaching Maya Widmaier Picasso’s son. Just how good a deal it was became apparent when Diana Widmaier Picasso learned of the matter and referred back to offers Gagosian had fielded when the work was shown at one of his galleries.
Here’s Kazakina from her forthcoming Bloomberg piece:
The complaint, filed Wednesday in Manhattan court, blames sibling rivalry for the issues already outlined in Gagosian’s Jan. 12 suit. It says Picasso’s granddaughter worked with Gagosian to cut out her brother, who had been part of an earlier deal with Qatar Museums.[…]
Pelham agreed to purchase the sculpture for about $50 million for Sheikh Jassim bin Abdul Aziz Al-Thani and the Qatar Museums Authority in 2014 from Maya Widmaier Picasso, the artist’s daughter, according to court papers. The deal involved her son, Olivier Widmaier-Picasso, who is also the artist’s grandson.
They didn’t tell her other child, Diana Widmaier Picasso, “to avoid the anticipated entreaties that the sculpture be sold through Diana to her long-term ally Larry Gagosian,” Pelham claims in the new complaint. When Diana learned of the sale to Pelham, she sought to repudiate it, and her mother acceded, according the suit.