We acquired Leonardo's Salvator Mundi, Abu Dhabi says
We acquired Leonardo's Salvator Mundi, Abu Dhabi says
Abu Dhabi authorities revealed as buyers of $450m 'Leonardo painting'
11 December, 2017, 02:14
In response to media reports about the sale, the embassy said it contacted the office of Prince Bader, which confirmed the artwork was "acquired" by the Abu Dhabi culture department.
The New York Times on Wednesday, citing documents it reviewed, identified the buyer as Saudi Arabia's Prince Bader Bin Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Farhan Al Saud, whose country forbids the official worship of Christ or any other religion except Islam.
A UAE government official confirmed the painting belonged to the Abu Dhabi government and would be put on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
The result obliterated previous world records for an art sale of any kind, including the auction high of $179.4 million for a Pablo Picasso painting sold in 2015.
The 500-year-old painting of Christ is believed to be the work of Leonardo da Vinci.
Prince Mohammed, in turn, has been called an admirer of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The declaration came the day after the Wall Street Journal reported that the person who had purchased the Renaissance painting at Christie's NY last month for a staggering $450m was the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
In a 30-year deal worth a reported €1 billion ($1.18 billion), the French Louvre assists with exhibition management, offers advice and lends artworks to its Middle Eastern franchise.
Prince Bader is listed as a director of Houston-based Energy Holdings International, Inc. The statement by a company spokesman followed a press release issued earlier in the day by the culture department, which said the painting will be displayed at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Most who practise Islam - the state religion of Saudi Arabia - shun visual portrayals of its prophets.
Leonardo da Vinci died in 1519 and there are fewer than 20 of his paintings in existence. Da Vinci's "La Belle Ferronnière" is on loan there from the Louvre in Paris. It was restored and authenticated, before being sold to its most recent owner, Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev, for $127.5 million.
Bought a $450M painting?
Yet the identity of the successful telephone bidder has yet to be revealed, sparking intense speculation about the painting's new owner.
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