Arthur Brand said Tuesday he recovered the 1938 painting "Buste de Femme" 2 weeks ago after trailing it for years in Amsterdam. The artwork had been stolen from a wealthy Saudi sheikh's yacht in 1999.
Brand estimates the portrait to be worth $28 million and said he knew it was the real deal as soon as he saw it, according to Sky News.
"You know it's a Picasso because there is some magic coming off it," he said Tuesday.
Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant reported the painting was confirmed by a former art investigator from Scotland Yard, who is now acting on behalf of the insurance company, and an expert from the US who flew over to the Netherlands to verify the portrait's authenticity.
"This is the stolen Picasso," Dick Ellis told the news outlet. "It is still in good condition, with slight damage."
Brand, a renowned sleuth whose previous finds include a pair of bronze horses sculpted for Adolf Hitler, had teased the find last week on Twitter, saying he was working on "one of the biggest cases of my career."
He made headlines last year after tracking down a Byzantine mosaic of Saint Mark that was stolen from Cyprus, the BBC previously reported.
Tracking down stolen artwork has earned him the moniker "the Indiana Jones of the art world." Brand has previously told the AFP News agency that recovering the mosaic was "one of the greatest moments of my life."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.