Leonardo da Vinci painting could fetch $100 million at auction

11 October, 2017, 05:41 | Author: Benny Bass
  • Da Vinci's 'male Mona Lisa' expected to sell for $100M

- Picture courtesy of Christie's NY via ReutersNEW YORK, Oct 11 - The last privately owned Leonardo da Vinci painting and one of fewer than 20 by the Renaissance artist known to still exist is hitting the auction block, Christie's announced yesterday.

The painting is to travel to Hong Kong, San Francisco and London before it is sold by Christie's in NY on 15 November.

The work had been painted over, according to Vogue. "The word "masterpiece" barely begins to convey the rarity, importance and sublime beauty of Leonardo's painting".

" The Salvator Mundi is the Holy Grail of old master paintings", a Christie's senior specialist in Old Master paintings noted in a release.

Loic Gouzer, Chairman, Post-War and Contemporary Art, New York, remarked: "Salvator Mundi is a painting of the most iconic figure in the world by the most important artist of all time".

In the mid-17th century it was listed in an inventory of the collection of Charles I of England, and it is thought to have hung in the private chambers of his wife, Henrietta Maria of France.

The next reference to the work is in 1763 when it was in a sale organised by Charles Herbert Sheffield, the illegitimate son of the Duke of Buckingham.

Gouzer and Wintermute were joined at the rare "unveiling" event on October 10 by Alex Rotter, cochair of postwar and contemporary art in NY, and François de Poortere, head of the Old Masters department in NY.

It then disappeared until 1900 when it was acquired by Sir Charles Robinson as a work by Leonardo's follower, Bernardino Luini, for the Cook Collection, Doughty House, Richmond. Because nobody knew it was a da Vinci, it later sold in 1958 for a mere £45 (around $500 in today's dollars).

"It has been more than a century since the last such painting turned up and this opportunity will not come again in our lifetime". It's the artist's last known painting in private hands, Christie's said. It then disappeared again until it was purchased at a small regional auction house in the U.S. by a consortium of American businesspeople in 2005. Six years later, the painting, which was once a part of the Royal collection of King Charles I and eventually made its way to an American estate sale in 2005, was displayed for the public to view at London's National Gallery in the exhibit, Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan. It sold privately in 2014. "Many paintings are described as a tour-de-force-this is Warhol's".

Despite being half a millennium old, it's being sold in the contemporary sale to complement the auction's other blockbuster lot: Andy Warhol's Sixty Last Suppers (1986), a Warhol painting of Leonardo's masterpiece silkscreened 60 times so that it stretches to the same massive size as the original.

Of course, also bear in mind: This is a sales pitch by a salesperson, one representing a house that just vastly overestimated the price of a Francis Bacon painting at auction in London last week.

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