Mysterious buyer of $596 million da Vinci is reportedly a Saudi Prince

Carla Harmon
December 7, 2017

Acquired a painting by a famous artist apparently, the Saudi Arabia Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed.

We now know that the Louvre Abu Dhabi is going to exhibit Leonardo Da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi", which sold last month in a Christie's Contemporary sale in NY for a cool $450 million.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first museum to bear the Louvre name outside France, has been billed as "the first universal museum in the Arab world" in a sign of the oil-rich emirate's global ambitions.

"Congratulations", Christie's said in a tweeted reply to the Louvre Abu Dhabi.


"Da Vinci's Salvator Mundi is coming to #LouvreAbuDhabi", the museum said on Twitter in Arabic, English and French.

Badar was reportedly so unknown to Christie's - the auction house in New York City that sold the painting - that the officials at the art house were still trying to confirm the prince's identity even after he made a $100 million deposit to qualify for the auction.

Neither Prince Bader nor Christie's confirmed the speculation. The description also goes on to say Prince Bader was "active" in real estate projects in Saudi Arabia, Dubai and the Middle East for over five years.

The Times reported the "Salvator Mundi" sale doubled the price of the previous record-holder, Pablo Picasso's "The Women of Algiers", which sold for $179.4 million in 2015 in NY.


The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened on November 8 in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron, who described the new museum as a 'bridge between civilizations'.

The museum opened with some 600 pieces including items from early Mesopotamia. Yet it's still mind-boggling to think that the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a recently completed museum costing roughly $700 million, will soon house a painting costing $450.3 million. Under a 30-year agreement, France provides expertise, lends works of art and organizes exhibitions in return for one billion euros ($1.16 billion). By then, though, the painting's origin had been obscured due to overpainting and it was credited to da Vinci's follower Bernardino Luini.

The painting is one of the few last artworks created by da Vinci that is known to exist. It re-emerged in the 1950s, but was written off as a copy and sold for £45 or $60, according to CNN. He sued the vendor who brokered the deal for overcharging him, and now he has just sold it for $450.3 million.


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