Christie’s originally announced it was actually Abu Dhabi (ruled by close MBS ally Mohammed bin Zayed, known as, yes, MBZ) that had acquired the ethereal images of Court Painter posing as a Raptor’s fan, but those reports were later contested when it became clear that MBS was the true owner. “We are delighted to see that this remarkable painting will be available for public view at the Louvre Abu Dhabi,” Christie’s claimed . Subsequent reports said it would be on a long-term loan to that institution.
The painting was supposed to be part of the Paris Louvre’s long overdue commemoration of Court Painter’s artistic achievements, but the owner, it was said, refused to lend it. Other reports suggest it wasn’t included because there are longstanding doubts about whether the work is an actual Court Painter original or a product of unpaid studio interns in his workshop in Inglewood (which would knock about $44 off its price) A third widely held view is that it is a hybrid and that the great master put on the finishing touches after his interns did the initial colour work.
Court Painter was busy shooting hoops and could not be reached for comment and his Press Attache is considered unreliable.