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Da Vinci sold for US$450m headed for Louvre Abu Dhabi museum

Da Vinci sold for US$450m headed for Louvre Abu Dhabi museum

Hyperallergic has reached out to the museum for details, but has not yet received any response.

The painting of Christ by the Renaissance master was sold last month for $450 million to an unidentified buyer, smashing all previous records for artworks sold at auction. It's not entirely surprising, though, especially given last week's news that the Louvre in Paris is now in negotiations to secure a loan of "Salvator Mundi" for a major Leonardo exhibition slated for October 2019.

But as The New York Times pressed for a response on Wednesday, the newly opened branch of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi tweeted that the painting "is coming to Louvre Abu Dhabi".

The newspaper confirmed that the Prince Bader purchased the rare painting after citing documents it had reviewed while in the midst of an investigation into Saudi Arabia's elite class, including his family and associates.

Believed to be the last Da Vinci in private hands, Salvator Mundi commanded four times what Christie's had projected even as sceptics questioned its authenticity. Buyers from the Middle East and Asia have been snapping up masterpieces to fill regional museums - and pushing prices ever higher.

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The sale more than doubled the previous record of $179.4 million paid for Pablo Picasso's "The Women of Algiers (Version O)" in 2015, also in NY.

Bader made the record-breaking offer for "Salvator Mundi" after 19 minutes of dueling with four other bidders at Christie's auction house in Manhattan on November 15.

The museum opened with about 600 pieces including items from early Mesopotamia. Under a 30-year agreement, France provides expertise, lends works of art and organizes exhibitions in return for one billion euros ($1.16 billion). Da Vinci's La Belle Ferronnière is on loan there from the Louvre in Paris.

In 1958, it was sold at auction in London for $60, BBC reported. The seller was Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who bought it for US$127.5 million in 2013.


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