Leonardo da Vinci painting sells for $450m at auction, smashing records

Leonardo da Vinci painting sells for $450m at auction, smashing records.

Christie’s sells Salvator Mundi, artwork billed as ‘biggest discovery of the 21st century’, for $400m plus auction premium.

Salvator Mundi is the long-lost Leonardo da Vinci painting which was commissioned by King Louis XII more than 500 years ago in around 1500 and presumed lost until early this century.

It is a painting of Christ holding a crystal orb in his left hand and raising his right in benediction.

By Iain Hammer

Star Global have been watching this sale closely, it has been of particular interest and illustrates the strength and belief in the contemporary art market.

Salvator Mundi is the long-lost Leonardo da Vinci painting which was commissioned by King Louis XII more than 500 years ago in around 1500 and presumed lost until early this century.

It is a painting of Christ holding a crystal orb in his left hand and raising his right in benediction.

We know that the painting was consigned to Christie’s by Dmitry Rybolovlev his largest to date. The collector acquired it from Bouvier for $127m, who had in turn acquired it from Sotheby’s in a private sale in 2013 for about $50m less.  Before this “Salvator Mundi” had been owned by a consortium of dealers including Alexander Parish, who had picked it up for a mere $10,000 at an estate sale in the US in 2005, and had it restored and authenticated.

 

 

“Thank you all for your bidding,” said Pylkkänen. “Four hundred million selling here at Christie’s. The piece is sold.” 

The sale places Salvator Mundi as the highest-priced work sold privately auctioned, including Pablo Picasso’s 1955 Women of Algiers, sold for $179.4m, and Amedeo Modigliani’s 1917-18 Reclining Nude, sold for $170.4m.

This sale is definitely one for the history books, it generated a sustained 20 minutes of tense telephone bidding for the auctioneer Jussi Pylkkänen.  At one point, a telephone bidder jumped in, pushing the price from $332m to $350m. The bidding then resumed: $353m, $355m. A jump to $370. A jump to $400m.

“Thank you all for your bidding,” said Pylkkänen. “Four hundred million selling here at Christie’s. The piece is sold.”  After the auction had finished Pylkkänen said the sale had been his “ultimate privilege and the zenith of his career as an auctioneer”.

Christies would not reveal the identity of the buyer or the region from which they came.

 In the days leading up the the sale, Christie’s produced a video of celebrities viewing the work, among them Leonardo DiCaprio and Patti Smith. In total, Christie’s said, 27,000 people had seen the work.

This level of commitment illustrates the true nature of global belief in the value of the contemporary art marketplace.  While it is accepted that a Leonardo piece is historic, it is also acknowledged that prices for notable modern day artists work, such as Jack Armstrong, Andy Warhol, Richard Price to name a few have rapidly increased in value and will continue to do so at alarming levels.

This is the ideal time for any savvy investor to acquire these works.

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