A 500-year-old painting believed to be by Leonardo da Vinci has sold for $450.3 million in New York, blazing a new world record for the most expensive work of art sold at auction, Christie’s said.
“Salvator Mundi” or “Savior of the World,” which depicts Jesus Christ, more than doubled the previous record of $179.4 million paid for Pablo Picasso’s “The Women of Algiers (Version O)” in New York in 2015.
Lost for years only to resurface at a regional auction in 2005, it is one of fewer than 20 Da Vinci paintings generally accepted as being from the Renaissance master’s own hand, according to Christie’s.
All the others are held in museum or institutional collections.
Wednesday’s price was all the more extraordinary given that the oil on panel fetched only 45 British pounds in 1958, at the time believed to have been a copy, before subsequently disappearing for years.
Dated to around 1500, the work sold after 19 minutes of frenzied bidding — an incongruous Old Master in Christie’s evening postwar and contemporary sale, which attracts the biggest spenders in the high-octane world of international billionaire art collectors.
Christie’s declined to identify the buyer, other than to confirm that bids came from “every part of the world.”
The price could call into question a legal suit lodged by its Russian seller, who accused a Swiss art dealer in Monaco of allegedly overcharging him when he bought the work for $127.5 million in 2013.
A 500-year-old work of art depicting Jesus Christ, believed to be the work of Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci, sold in New York on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 for $450.3 million setting a new art auction record.
Christie’s said the value of private sales are rarely known, but a Willem de Kooning and a Gauguin were previously thought the most expensive, sold in 2015 separately for $300 million each, according to US media reports.