Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi was commissioned by Louis XII of France in 1506
Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of Christ which once sold for just $60 sells for a record breaking $450.3 million at New York auction; it is the last one of da Vinci’s paintings to remain in private ownership
The work was previously sold by Sotheby’s for just $60 in 1958 after it was wrongly attributed to a student of Da Vinci called Giovanni Boltraffio
Robert Simon Fine Art in New York acquired the painting at a clearance sale in 2004 for around $10,000 and realized it was an original painting by da Vinci himself
On Wednesday, at Christie’s auction house in New York it auctioned for double the old mark for any work of art at auction – at $450.3 million
The last record art auction sale was set two years ago, when Christie’s in New York sold Pablo Picasso’s painting ‘Women of Algiers [Version O]’ for $179.4 million two years ago
The highest known sale price for any artwork had been $300 million for Willem de Kooning’s painting ‘Interchange’
Salvator Mundi, an ethereal portrait of Jesus Christ by Leonardo da Vinci which dates to about 1500, has gone under the auctioneers hammer for a record $450 million
Leonardo da Vinci’s long lost portrait of Christ ‘Salvator Mundi’ [Savior of the World],” which dates to around 1500, became the most expensive work of art ever auctioned after a furious bidding war at Christie’s in Rockefeller Center led the sale for a record-btraking $450.3 million on Wednesday at Christie’s in New York
Surpassing the previous mark for any work of art at auction by $150 million.
The painting, which once sold for just $60 at auction, fetched more than four times over the Christie’s pre-sale estimate of about $100 million.
‘Salvator Mundi’ – Italian for ‘Savior of the World’ – was purchased by an unidentified buyer bidding via telephone after a protracted bidding war that stretched to nearly 20 minutes at the New York auction house.
The highest known sale price for any artwork had been $300 million for Willem de Kooning’s painting ‘Interchange,’ which was sold privately in September 2015 by the David Geffen Foundation to hedge fund manager Kenneth C. Griffin.
The oil on wood panel painting, Salvator Mundi, depicts Jesus Christ dressed in robes with one hand raised in a blessing and the other holding an orb that represents the Earth.
Commissioned by Louis XII of France in 1506, it later ended up in possession of Charles I of England and following his execution it went to Charles II and it remained in London for 400 years.
It eventually ended up in the collection of Sir Francis Cook and in 1958 it was sold by Sotheby’s for just $60 after it was wrongly attributed to a student of Da Vinci called Giovanni Boltraffio.
Robert Simon Fine Art in New York, along with a consortium of art dealers, are thought to have acquired the painting at a clearance sale in 2004 for $10,000.
Simon and his partners flew in an international panel of art experts who assessed the work, which had been heavily overpainted, and gone dark and gloomy during years of neglect.
After it was cleaned up, the experts agreed it had not been done by the pupil, but the master himself, da Vinci, and went on display to the public at the National Gallery in London in 2011.
Members of Christie’s staff admire the work Leonardo da Vinci painting of Christ
The piece is one of just 16 known surviving paintings by the Renaissance master, and was long thought to be by another artist. It was bought for a mere $90 about 60 years ago, and experts didn’t agree that it was an original Leonardo until 2011.
The artwork has been described as a hidden masterpiece plucked from obscurity.
“We came pretty close to losing it,” Alan Wintermute, a Christie’s vice president and specialist in Old Masters paintings, said.
“It’s so rare that anything this important reappears in the way it has, that you can’t help but be excited.”
The winning bidder had not been identified as of late Wednesday night.
Pablo Picasso’s painting ‘Women of Algiers [Version O]’ set the last art auction record of $179.4million in May, 2015
Paris-based dealer, Yves Bouvier purchased the work at a Sotheby’s private sale for $77 million in 2013.
The dealer once represented Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, when Rybolovlev acquired the painting for $127 million.