Saudi prince is $450.3 mn Da Vinci art buyer at auction

Joann Johnston
Декабря 7, 2017

"Salvator Mundi", a painting of Christ by Leonardo Da Vinci that was recently sold for a record US$450 million (S$606.96 million), is heading to the Louvre Abu Dhabi in a coup for the bold new museum, it announced on Wednesday (Dec 6).

It had sold for a mere 45 British pounds in 1958, when the painting was thought to have been a copy, and was lost until it resurfaced at a regional auction in 2005.

A mystery that New York Daily has solved from documents it has obtained.

The French weekly le Journal du Dimanche earlier reported that two investment firms were behind the painting's purchase as part of a financial arrangement involving several museums.

The Times said the huge purchase comes at a curious time for Saudi Arabia when Prince Mohammed cracked down on more than 200 of the richest Saudi princes, businessmen, and government officials after the country had been pressed by low oil prices.

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A Saudi prince has been revealed as the buyer of the world's most expensive painting, priced at a staggering $450 million in an auction at the world-famous Christie's Auction House in November. Prior to the auction, Christie's lawyers questioned him about his ties to the royal family and the source of his money, which he told them came from real estate. Without elaborating, he also added he was just one of the 5,000 princes in Saudi Arabia.

Prince Bader is listed as a director of Houston-based Energy Holdings International, Inc. However, Prince Bader attended King Saud University in Riyadh around the same time or along with Prince Mohammed. According to the report, Prince Bader was appointed the governor of a new commission, headed by Prince Mohammed, which will work towards turning the Al Ola province into a tourist area. In fact, Prince Bader now serves as the chairman of Saudi Research and Marketing Group, which was traditionally controlled directly by the crown prince's family.

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

The website also added Prince Bader was one of the "founding members" of a large recycling business that presently has the world's largest waste management and recycling facility. He was represented by Alex Rotter, who was the co-chairman of postwar and contemporary art at Christie's.

A Saudi prince spent $450.3m on Leonardo da Vinci's portrait of Jesus Christ at a NY auction last month and it will be exhibited at the new branch of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi. This could be because Prince Mohammed is a supporter and ally of Abu Dhabi's crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

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