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etvfutures.com December 17, 2017


'Salvator Mundi' Buyer Revealed: Little Known Saudi Prince

07 December 2017, 08:42 | Israel Caldwell

WATCH: Art agents frantically bid on a rare $450 million painting

Da Vinci died in 1519 and there are fewer than 20 of his paintings in existence. Thousands flock daily to the Louvre in Paris to see his masterpiece Mona Lisa

The mystery buyer who dropped $450.3 million in the biggest art sale ever has been identified: Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" was acquired by the Saudi Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, according to the New York Times.

The revelation came shortly after the newly-opened Louvre Abu Dhabi tweeted that the Salvator Mundi would soon be coming to the museum.

Despite Prince Bader's relatively obscure status, he is seen as a close friend of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and has become more prominent in the kingdom since the crown prince's ascension. USA TODAY has reached out to Christie's for comment; meanwhile, CNN, citing reports that investment firms had purchased the painting in hopes of putting on display, said the auction house would not confirm whether the museum purchased the painting or someone else.

Alex Rotter, the auction house's co-chairman of post-war and contemporary art in the Americas, represented the anonymous buyer of the Da Vinci and placed the winning bid after a spellbinding 19-minute contest that saw offers at US$200 million, US$300 million and US$350 million fall short. Pressed for more information, Prince Bader reportedly gave a terse reply, saying he was in the real estate business and was one of the country's 5,000 princes.

The highest known sale price for any artwork had been $US300 million, for Willem de Kooning's painting, Interchange.

Featuring a vast silver-toned dome, the Louvre Abu Dhabi was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, drawing inspiration from Arab design and evoking both an open desert and the sea. Under a 30-year agreement, France provides expertise, lends works of art and organizes exhibitions in return for one billion euros ($1.16 billion).

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In the UAE will have the most valuable painting of Leonardo da Vinci.

Dating from the 1500s, the painting was billed as the final Leonardo work held in private hands, one of roughly 20 paintings attributed to him.

The Salvator Mundi ("Saviour of the World") has been called ethereal, mysterious, spooky and touted as a long-lost painting by the Renaissance master.

It had sold for a mere 45 British pounds in 1958, when the painting was thought to have been a copy, and was lost until it resurfaced at a regional auction in 2005.

In 2013, Salvator Mundi was bought by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for $127.5 million.



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