August 14, 2018

Da Vinci's 'male Mona Lisa' expected to sell for $100M

11 October 2017, 05:39 | Regina Holmes

Da Vinci's 'male Mona Lisa' expected to sell for $100M

Analyzing the painting with x-rays

The painting, titled, Salvator Mundi, which translates as "savior of the world", is one of only about 20 believed to be painted by da Vinci himself. Fewer than 20 paintings by the founding father of the High Renaissance style are known to exist in the world, and all of them are in public collections- except for the one displayed today in NY.

In addition, the consortium that originally sold the work threatened to sue Sotheby's for its involvement in the sale, alleging that they got shortchanged.

Being able to partner an Old Master painting with Warhol's "Sixty Last Suppers" appealed to the Da Vinci seller, according to Christie's.

When asked whether Salvator Mundi's involvement in complaints filed across the world would affect its sale, or at least the optics of it, Christie's postwar and contemporary chairman, Loic Gouzer, who secured the work, said, "We can not comment about sellers, but it has every passport, every visa". (At that time, it was thought that the artist wasn't Leonardo da Vinci but was one of his followers, Bernardino Luini.) It's also rare because it's only one of less than 20 paintings that are known to exist by da Vinci. It's the artist's last known painting in private hands, Christie's said. Christie's called the painting the "biggest discovery of the 21st century" and "a bigger deal than discovering a new planet". It was a commission by an unknown party (though most likely the French court), first recorded in the Royal collection of King Charles I, where it hung in the bed chamber of his wife, Henrietta Maria, in her Greenwich Palace.

Christie's NY will be open to the public on November 4, when Salvatore Mundi will be on display. The opportunity to bring this masterpiece to the market is an honor that comes around once in a lifetime.

Following the dispersal of the Cook Collection, Salvator Mundi was ultimately consigned to a sale at Sotheby's in 1958 where it sold for £45.

The painting didn't surface again for almost 50 years, until it was purchased from an American estate at a small regional auction house in 2005.

The new owner started the restoration process, and after some six years of research it was authenticated as da Vinci's more-than 500-year-old masterpiece, which culminated in a high-profile exhibition at London's National Gallery in 2011. "Many paintings are described as a tour-de-force-this is Warhol's".

Another newly announced highlight of the Christie's sale will be Andy Warhol's monumental Sixty Last Suppers, painted a year before his death in 1986. "I can hardly convey how exciting it is for those of us directly involved in its sale", remarked Wintermute.

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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