Auctioneer and Global President Jussi Pylkkanen is selling Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi (Savior of the World) painting for $450,312,500 at Christie's, November 15, 2017, in New York City.
"'Salvator Mundi" was painted in the same time frame as the "Mona Lisa, ' and they bear a patent compositional likeness", said Loic Gouzer, the chairman of Christie's postwar and contemporary art department in New York City.
The marketing of the painting also has raised some concerns with Christie's enlisting an outside agency for the first time to tout it and putting it on sale in its contemporary auction, rather than its Old Masters auction, apparently to fetch a higher price. The highest known sale price for any artwork had been $300 million, for Willem de Kooning's painting "Interchange", sold privately in September 2015 by the David Geffen Foundation to hedge fund manager Kenneth C. Griffin.
"Salvator Mundi" or "Savior of the World", which depicts Jesus Christ , more than doubled the previous record of $179.4 million paid for Pablo Picasso's "The Women of Algiers (Version O)" in NY in 2015.
Prior to Wednesday's highly anticipated sale, Christie's had secured a guaranteed bid for the painting of at least $100 million by an anonymous investor.
The painting was consigned to a sale at Sotheby's auction house in 1958 where it fetched just 45 British pounds.
On Wednesday evening, an anonymous collector dialed in to a spacious room inside Rockefeller Center in New York City and instructed the person on the other end of the line to spend almost half a billion dollars for a 25.8-inch by 17.9-inch oil painting of Jesus Christ.
The painting was first recorded in the Royal collection of King Charles I (1600-1649), and thought to have hung in the private chambers of Henrietta Maria - the wife of King Charles I - in her palace in Greenwich, and was later in the collection of Charles II.
The 26-inch-tall painting has an intriguing history.
The Leonardo, which was offered in the Andy Warhol's Sixty Last Suppers from 1986 - an outstanding example from the artist's great final painting series, and the largest painting by the American Pop artist ever to come to auction - sold for $60,875,000.
The buyer was not immediately identified, but is believed to be a lucrative art dealer, and will keep the painting for their own private collection.
Members of the public - indeed, even many cognoscenti - cared little if at all whether the painting might have been executed in part by studio assistants; whether Leonardo had actually made the work himself; or how much of the canvas had been repainted and restored. It's wonderful it's in NY. "It has been more than a century since the last such painting turned up and this opportunity will not come again in our lifetime". Art collectors consider Salvator Mundi as the "male Mona Lisa" making it a legendary piece. Long-known to have existed, and long-sought after, it seemed just a tantalizingly unobtainable dream until now.