Bought a $450M painting? In NY, don't worry about the tax

Trevor Jackson
December 11, 2017

The 500-year-old oil painting of Jesus went under the hammer in NY for a record-breaking $450 million including fees, four times over its pre-sale estimate and more than double the old mark for any work of art at auction.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi, which opened on November 11, has been one of the "most aggressive buyers on the global art market over the last decade", according to Bloomberg. To differentiate itself from neighboring Dubai, Abu Dhabi is targeting affluent tourists looking for culture and art and it has also built hotels, theme parks and malls.

Auction house Christie's has also steadfastly declined to identify the buyer, whose purchase in NY for $450.3 million stunned the art world.

The news comes after initial reports from the New York Times that the painting was purchased by Saudi Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, which was followed by supposed news from the Wall Street Journal that the real buyer was the heir apparent to the Saudi throne, Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

A spokeswoman for Christie's offered her congratulations to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, telling CNN that she was "delighted that the piece is going to be on view in public".

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The post displayed an image of the 500-year-old work but did not identify its owner. His statement did not mention the painting or address whether he had bought it. But on Friday, Saudi Arabia's embassy weighed in.

Featuring a vast silver-toned dome, the Louvre Abu Dhabi was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, drawing inspiration from Arab design and evoking both an open desert and the sea.

Painted by one of history's greatest and most renowned artists, Salvator Mundi is one of fewer than 20 known surviving paintings by the Italian Renaissance master.

The first works on loan from the Louvre in Paris include another painting by Da Vinci - "La Belle Ferronniere", one of his portraits of women.

A UAE government official confirmed the painting belonged to the Abu Dhabi government and would be put on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Bouvier, in turn, sold it to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for US$127.5 million in 2014.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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