Leonardo da Vinci’s painting “Christ the Savior” has just sold at auction for a record $450 million. Just to clarify, savvy reader, that’s $450 MILLION, i.e., nearly HALF A BILLION DOLLARS! For a painting. So, you know, a bargain, right? We mean … what’s the fuss?
The painting, pictured above in a photo appearing with a New York Times article, has been called “the male Mona Lisa.”
Anyway, say collecting rare and historic art is how you spend your free time, you know, when you not super busy oligarching or browsing the web for new yachts while lounging on your current yacht as it gently rocks anchored off Palma de Mallorca.
Now that you’ve bought this da Vinci you’ve got to figure out where you’re going to put it. Perhaps you have a private gallery or will make it the centerpiece of a new museum you’re going to establish. Perhaps, you’ll hide it away in a basement or in the main room of your dacha south of Moscow.
Or imagine the absolute daring cheek of mounting it on a bathroom wall, above the toilet, in your 57th-floor Manhattan condo (the south-facing one with river views, not the one you own on Central Park South).
Wherever you decide to hang your new da Vinci, you’ll need to think about it’s maintenance, the temperature and humidity of the locale, sunlight, climate control and security systems, plus insurance and requests from various museums around the world to show as part of their exhibitions.
For sure, these are critical things you need to think about and sort out immediately, but you may actually have bigger things to worry about.
For example, like whether the painting you just spent half a billion dollars on is a fake. And how it’s terribly damaged. And how as recently as 2005, the painting was sold for as little as $10,000!!!
Let’s catch up on the deets as reported by the New York Times…
“… many art experts argue that Christie’s used marketing window dressing to mask the baggage that comes with the Leonardo, from its compromised condition to its complicated buying history and said that the auction house put the artwork in a contemporary sale to circumvent the scrutiny of old masters experts, many of whom have questioned the painting’s authenticity and condition.
“The composition doesn’t come from Leonardo,” said Jacques Franck, a Paris-based art historian and Leonardo specialist. “He preferred twisted movement. It’s a good studio work with a little Leonardo at best, and it’s very damaged.
“But Christie’s was also slow to release an official condition report and its authenticity warranty on the Leonardo runs out in five years, as it does on all lots bought at its auctions, according to the small print in the back of its sale catalog.
“The auction house has also played down the painting’s volatile sales history.
“The artwork has been the subject of legal disputes and amassed a price history that ranges from less than $10,000 in 2005, when it was spotted at an estate auction, to $200 million when it was first offered for sale by a consortium of three dealers in 2012. But no institution besides the Dallas Museum of Art, which in 2012 made an undisclosed offer on the painting, showed public interest in buying it. Finally, in 2013, Sotheby’s sold it privately for $80 million to Yves Bouvier, a Swiss art dealer and businessman. Soon afterward, he sold it for $127.5 million, to the family trust of the Russian billionaire collector Dmitry E. Rybolovlev. Mr. Rybolovlev’s family trust was the seller on Wednesday night.”