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Leon Black is mystery buyer of controversial Picasso sculpture

“Bust of a Woman” by Pablo Picasso, 1931
Source: 2016 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Leon Black, chairman of Apollo Global Management, has been identified as the mystery buyer of a $106 million dollar Pablo Picasso sculpture embroiled in tug-of-war over its ownership by the Qatari royal family and mega art dealer, Larry Gagosian.

The 1931 work, "Bust of a Woman," is currently on exhibition at New York's Museum of Modern Art, where the billionaire hedge fund manager serves as co-chairman.

According to the Financial Times, Gagosian first acquired the piece directly from the artist's daughter, Maya Widmaier-Picasso, for $100 million last year, with the intention of selling it to Black.

Problem is, Widmaier-Picasso had apparently already sold to the scuipture to Qatari Sheikh Jassim bin Abdulaziz al-Thani in 2014 for around $40 million dollars

The claims Widmaier-Picasso tried to sell the disputed work twice, then triggered a global legal battle in Switzerland, France and New York.

Black is one of the foremost art collectors in the world, with a collection valued at $700 million.

In 2012 he paid $119 million for Edvard Munch's 1895 painting, "The Scream." at Sotheby's New York. It is one of only four "Scream" versions in existence and the only remaining one in private hands.

Black, who is worth an estimated $3.5 billion, also owns rare works by van Gogh, Cezanne, Degas, Brancusi and Raphael.

Leon Black, chairman and CEO of Apollo Management
Jonathan Alcorn | Bloomberg | Getty Images