This article accompanies the fable
ALW bought Picasso's 1903 portrait of his friend Angel, seated at a cafe table shrouded in tobacco smoke, in 1995. But an auction at Christie's in New York recently was dramatically halted amid claims that it was Nazi war loot. A court ruled in ALW's favor but he has opted not to try and sell it since then.
masquerade ball of course resembles Woland's Midnight Ball in Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita.